Thousands of bottles of rare cognac and other drink, some dating back to the French Revolution, went up for sale. Dutch collector Bay Van der Bunt, is selling some 5,000 unopened bottles of spirits worth more than £5 million ($7.94 million), a drinks cabinet that includes the most expensive of Cognac in the world. Among the bottles collected by Dutch collector is a 1795 Cognac made in Brugerolle that accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte on his conquests of Europe.
The hand-blown six-litre Jeroboam bottle is worth £114,500 ($182,000) and is the last of its kind in the world. It travelled with Napoleon’s army. You can just see it there lying with the others in the hay cart. After the battle – and probably before – the officers would drink from it, said Mr van der Bunt. Mr van der Bunt bought the bottle from a Chicago collector in 1990 for £20,000, an investment that has increased five-fold in value as wealthy Chinese and Russian buyers move into the market.
63 years of age Van der Bunt, who doesn’t touch a drop himself, has dedicated his life to massing his collection, but as he has no children with which to pass on this precious liquid inheritance. So sadly, I have to let it go, he said. Over the last 35 years, I frequented worldwide auctions like Christie’s and Sotheby’s. I bought from famous restaurants like Maxim’s and La Tour d’Argent in Paris and Le Cirque in New York when they thinned-out their cellars. Some cognacs even belonged to the estate of the Duke of Windsor, Van der Bunt added.
The other spirits that will go under the hammer include a Courvoisier & Curlier worth £39,000 ($61,800), which was distilled 223 years ago in 1789.
However, Mr Van Der Bunt has decided that he does not want to break up the collection, so anyone with their eye on that particular bottle will be disappointed. Bart Laming, who is handling the sale said that they are keen for the collection, started by Mr Van Der Bunt’s great grandfather in 1880, to remain intact and unopened. We are aiming at a wealthy Russian or Chinese buyer because we think people from these countries are willing to spend their money on this, he said. [Old Liquors]
Said to be the last remaining hand-blown jeroboam (6 litre) bottle in the world and believed to have travelled with the army of Napoleon Bonaparte as it waged war against Austria and the British. The Dutch republic fell to French troops in the same year. Bought from a Chicago collector in 1990 for more than €24,000. Estimated value €138,000($182,000).
1938 REMY MARTIN LOUIS XIII
More than 1200 brandies were blended to form this special edition cognac presented during the royal banquet of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI, in 1938. Only 600 of them are believed to still exist. Bought for €900. Estimated value €53,000 ($70,000).
1805 A.E. DOR, SOLEIL D’AUSTERLITZ
An extremely rare bottle – only three were made. In 1980 the owner of A.E. Dor kept one for himself, and presented the other two to French President Francois Mitterrand. Bought in 1989 for €3,000. Estimated value €18,000 ($23,900).