A case of three double magnums from Screaming Eagle known as the "First Flight of Eagles" has sold with strong results as part of Wally's Auctions' October 24 sale in New York.
The lot contained three 3-litre bottles of the California cult winery's earliest vintages - 1992, 1993 and 1994. Valued at $70,000-120,000, it made a 45% increase to sell for $174,000.
The auction house placed a strong focus on cult wines in the sale, having consigned a remarkable single-owner collection from a US connoisseur who had privileged access to California's finest.
The market for these rare bottles, which are typically produced in small numbers with exacting production methods, is strong, with many collectors now looking away from the established market for Bordeaux and Burgundy.
The investment potential for Californian cults is promising, as they age exceptionally well and limited numbers ensure high demand.
That demand was also demonstrated by a lot of three 3-litre bottles from Harlan Estate, comprising the 1992, 1993 and 1994 vintages. It sold for $45,600, a huge 280% increase on its $12,000 high estimate.
The lot was originally bought at the annual Napa Valley charity auction, at which the best vineyards offer special lots to discerning collectors. A possibly unique offering, it was presented in a special leather suitcase.
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