11 bottles of Veuve Cliquot could break the current world record for champagne at auction, in a Finnish sale today (June 8).
The 200-year-old bottles were salvaged from a wreck in the Baltic Sea by diver Christian Ekstrom, who immediately surfaced and tasted a bottle with his fellow divers.
The 140 bottles were found to be in excellent condition, as confirmed by champagne expert Richard Juhlin, who helped identify the bottles. It is said that the precious cargo, discovered in 2010, was intended for the court of Russian emperor, Nicholas I.
The Veuve Cliquot lots are the oldest champagne bottles ever discovered. Made between 1782 and 1788, they significantly pre-date the 1893 Veuve Cliquot bottle which is currently on display in the Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin visitor centre in Reims.
The bottles, which are being sold individually, could break the record price set last year by another bottle of Veuve Cliquot from the same shipwreck. In June 2011, a single bottle from the wreck sold for $43,630, smashing the world record previously set in 2008 by a bottle of 1959 Dom Perignon.
The auction is to be held in Mariehamn off the coast of Finland, near where the shipwreck was discovered. It will feature more bottles discovered on the wreck from renowned champagne houses such as Juglar and Heidsieck & Co.
Be sure to check back with Paul Fraser Collectibles to find out if the bottles break the world record later today. For more fascinating wine collecting news, sign up to our free weekly newsletter.