New Government proposals to place a minimum price on alcohol will mean the cheapest bottle of wine could soon cost around £4.20.
But that’s unlikely to concern buyers and sellers at Moore Allen & Innocent’s annual pre-Christmas auction of vintage wines, where some bottles will be changing hands for over £100 each, and one particular bottle is expected to make around £1,000 – despite being empty.
With hundreds of bottles being sold in over 200 lots, the auction in Cirencester on Friday, December 7 is the firm’s largest ever wine and spirits sale.
Stand out lots include three bottles Chateau D’Yquem Lur Saluces 1965 , which are expected to make between £100 and £150 each, a single bottle Baron de Lustrac Armagnac 1947 with an auctioneer’s estimate of £150 to £200, and seven bottles of C da Silva 1963 Vintage Port at £200 to £300.
Meanwhile, auctioneers will be testing the maxim that ’empty vessels make the most noise’ when they seek £300 to £500 for a collection of three empty wine bottles – two of which are inscribed to James Oakes of Bury in 1777 and 1793 respectively. The third dates from the 19th century.
Rarer still is a circa 1705 green glass onion shaped wine bottle bearing the seal of Henry Hyde Lord Cornbury and 2nd Earl of Clarendon, which is expected to achieve between £800 and £1,200.
With all that wine, bidders will be wanting something to pop open the corks with. Good job, then, that the auctioneers are offering hundreds of antique, vintage and novelty corkscrews.
While there’s nothing here as rare as the Robert Jones and Son Patent corkscrew – which the auctioneers sold back in December 2010 for a head-turning £11,000 – there are still some good collectables, which all come from the Woburn, Buckinghamshire emporium of Christopher Sykes, a well known and respected dealer in antiques.
The wine, spirits and ephemera section also features a collection of nine various pottery bin labels inscribed ‘Port 1847’, ‘Port’, ‘Sauterne’, ‘Madeira’, ‘Champagne’, ‘Bucellas’, ‘Ale’, ‘Symington’s 1994 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port’ and an unglazed hand-written example inscribed ‘Ginerva One Bottle – Oct 1910’ which should make around £300 to £500.
From Cartier, there’s a late 19th Century French white metal hydrometer inscribed ‘Pesse Vin Selon Cartier’, housed in a bottle shaped boxwood container, which should achieve £80 to £120.
And there’s a collection of various silver bottle tags including ‘Port’ by John Hutson, London 1795; ‘Sherry’ by Joseph Wilmore, Birmingham 1836; ‘Whisky’ by T.H. Hazelwood & Co., Birmingham 1907; ‘Sherry’ by Harman Bros., Birmingham 1960; ‘Sherry’ stamped ‘Silver’; and a silver tag inscribed ‘Prix de Marquis de Segonzac Mixed Foursomes 1933 Mr Haynes & Miss Elwes’ by James Dixon & Sons, Sheffield 1936.
In silver alone the tags weigh in at around 1.8oz, and the lot is expected to achieve £100 to £150.
Another interesting collection of silver comes in the form of greyhound racing cups from the late 19th and 20th centuries, from the collection of the renowned owner and breeder WP Tabbush.
Trophies include a George V silver trophy cup inscribed ‘The Greyhound Oaks…Harringay Stadium… 1962’ weighing 49.75oz, which should achieve £700 to £900, an Edwardian silver rose bowl engraved ‘West Ham Stadium 1951’ which weighs 36.9 oz and should make £500 to £700, and a sterling silver two handled trophy inscribed ‘The Greyhound Oaks, Presented by the Greyhound Racing Association… 1951’ which weighs in at a whopping 180oz and carries an estimate of £2,000 to £3,000.
From silver to tin, the highlight of the now-traditional Christmas antique toy section is a circa 1920 tin plate clockwork model Alfa Romeo P2 vintage racing car in red livery by Compagnie Industrelle du Jouet. Once at the top of every little boy’s Christmas list, the toy car should achieve between £400 and £600.
For model railway buffs there are two charming miniature table railway sets from Bing, which should make between £100 and £150 a piece, and for the little girl in someone’s life there’s a Kammer & Reinhardt doll with porcelain head, carrying an estimate of £300 to £500.
Finally, we could all do with an extra pair of hands at Christmas, and Moore Allen is delighted to offer fifty percent of the solution, with a mummified right hand, believed to originate in ancient Egypt.
Measuring 20cm long and 8cm across, and with an estimate of £100 to £150, it is, surely, the perfect stocking filler.
For a full auction catalogue, log on to www.mooreallen.co.uk/auction-house