Acker sets $43,630 World Record price with Champagne rescued from the seabed

Acker Merrall & Condit announced on June 3 that it had surpassed the world auction record for a bottle of Champagne, selling a bottle of shipwrecked Veuve Clicquot for $43,630.

As we reported last year Diver Christian Ekstrom was exploring a shipwreck on the Baltic seabed when he found the bottles of sparkling wine.

Stolen from drunken mermaids? The discovery of the lost Champagne

In a move that would startle serious collectors and investors, he took one straight to the surface and tasted it with fellow divers, and found it was still in great condition.

The name of the sunken vessel is still unknown, as is its destination, but it is speculated the cargo was bound for the court of the Russian Emperor, Nicholas I, in St Petersburg.

Following a successful salvage operation of 145 bottles, it was discovered the bounty included some of the world's oldest Champagnes, wines from the famed houses of Veuve Clicquot, Juglar, and Heidsieck.

The landmark sale took place in Mariehamn, Åland, where Acker Merrall auctioned two of the world's oldest bottles of Champagne salvaged last year from a 19th century shipwreck off the Åland Islands, along with 15 special lots direct from Veuve Cliquot's cellars.

In a most exciting climax, an anonymous internet bidder from Singapore out-duelled an American phone bidder, Robert A. Rosania, legendary Champagne collector and American real estate entrepreneur.

When asked about the epic battle for both lots of shipwrecked Champagne, Rosania commented, "I'll be back." Ironically, Rosania held the previous record set in 2008, that time as a seller, when bottles of 1959 Dom Perignon from his collection sold for $42,350 each.

"We are overjoyed by today's outcome," said John Kapon, CEO of Acker Merrall & Condit. "We felt privileged to work with the Government of Åland and Veuve Clicquot to produce this unprecedented sale.

"Today proved to be one of the most historic and exhilarating events in the world of wine. To have America and Asia battling it out here in Europe, setting a new world record, is a testament to the globalization of the fine wine market, and this is only the beginning.

"What was equally amazing was the fact that the sale took place in Aland, an incredibly beautiful yet remote region of the world. It just goes to show that the most discerning and passionate collectors will go wherever it takes to acquire the world's greatest wines."

"This sends out a strong message that the oldest and rarest drinkable champagne is sold in Åland. We are also happy that the financial surplus that is generated by the sale of the Champagne bottles will go to charitable causes, such as environmental measures for improving the quality of water in the seas," said departmental head Rainer Juslin of the Åland Government.

Needless to say, the Champagne will make a strong alternative investment - provided it is provably kept in perfect conditions.

Acker Merrall's next and final auction of the season will be held in the Hamptons in New York on June 25th.


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