June 26, 2012 / 9:37 AM / 7 years ago

Christie's launches online auctions with wine sale

People attend the fine wine auction at Christie's in Geneva, in this November 16, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Christie’s, the global auction house, said on Monday that it is launching a series of online sales for global collectors that will run in parallel with its traditional sales.

The online auctions, beginning with the sale of rare and fine wines, follow the successful online component of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor, which totalled $9.5 million and an online charity auction of Hermes handbags that fetched $229,000.

“The success of these two pilots demonstrates our clients around the world are eagerly embracing online-only sales as a regular addition to Christie’s calendar of traditional live auctions,” Steven P. Murphy, chief executive officer, Christie’s International, said in a statement.

The global online-exclusive wine sale will include ‘82 Lafite and Latour, magnums of fine Champagne, beautifully aged Port, and hard-to-source California cult wines from Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle, the 246-year-old auction house said.

The 301 lots are estimated to sell for a total of more than $750,000. Estimates for individual lots range from $200 to $35,000.

“As a collecting category, wine lends itself very well to a global, online-only auction platform,” said Scott Torrence, vice president and senior wine specialist. “As a way of doing business, online-only sales are a very natural progression that provides our clients with even more opportunities to build and broaden their collections of fine and rare wines.”

Online bidding for the wines, which can be viewed in an e-catalogue, begins on August 6 and closes two weeks later. (Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Christine Kearney, Bernard Orr)

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