By Andrew Starke
Wine auction house Acker Merrall & Condit has claimed a world auction record for a bottle of Champagne, selling a bottle of shipwrecked Veuve Clicquot for US$43,630.
The sale took place in Mariehamn, the capital of Åland, where Acker Merrall auctioned two of the world’s oldest bottles of Champagne, along with 15 special lots direct from Veuve Cliquot's cellars.
The bottles were salvaged last year from a 19th century shipwreck off the Åland Islands, an archipelago in the Baltic Sea.
The islands are situated at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia and form an autonomous, Swedish-speaking region of Finland.
An anonymous internet bidder from Singapore secured the nearly 200-year-old bottle which was part of the booty from a shipwreck dating from between 1825 and 1830 and discovered last July.
A bottle of champagne from the now-extinct house of Juglar, which was salvaged from the same wreck, sold for US$34,904 to the same buyer.
“We are overjoyed by today’s outcome,” said CEO of Acker Merrall & Condit, John Kapon.
“We felt privileged to work with the Government of Åland and Veuve Clicquot to produce this unprecedented sale.”
In July 2010, divers discovered bottles of Champagne in a shipwreck off the Åland Islands.
Having survived nearly two centuries at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, the contents of the bottles are extremely well preserved.
Following a successful salvage operation of 145 bottles, it was found the bounty included some of the world's oldest Champagnes, wines from the famed houses of Veuve Clicquot, Juglar, and Heidsieck.