Vanquish Montrachet (pic: Vanquish)

Vanquish Montrachet (pic: Vanquish)

We have rounded up some of the most controversial DRC lots offered at auctions including flagrant fakes and some close-calls.

2. 1924 Romanee Conti

1924 DRC offered by Ackers was later withdrawn (pic: Acker)
1924 DRC offered by Ackers was later withdrawn (pic: Acker)

In 2020, Acker Merrall & Condit again withdrew a lot featuring a 1924 Romanee Conti before its Hong Kong auction on June 11-13 after Don Cornwell’s questions about its authenticity.

The bottle of 1924 DRC Romanée Conti was estimated to sell at HK$160,000 to 224,000 (US $20,000 to 28,000). The auction house said it came from the cellar of collector Aziz Khan and had been imported to the US by Collectors’ Cellar, a company owned by Bipin Desai.

Since the 1924 DRC Romanée Conti is a very early vintage, examining its authenticity can be tricky. The bottle ready for auction came with “Romanée Conti 1924” scrawled in green pen on a self-adhesive white label.

It was described by Cornell as “unquestionably counterfeit”. He pointed out that the glass used in other officially verified DRC bottles from the 1920s were made from smooth glass in a classic Burgundy shape. 

Also, the wax seals on authentic bottles are “very thin” and had turned “orange/almost beige from oxidation”, but the Acker bottle has a relatively thick wax and had been “artificially weathered”.

Andrew Bigbee, CEO of Acker Asia, confirmed with Vino Joy News on June 8 that the lot has been removed and was previously purchased by the consignor at Zachy’s auction in September 2012. It is worthy noting that the withdrawal did not prove the wine is a counterfeit but more of an act of caution and responsibility.

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