Chinese buyer outbids most for wines of Alain Delon
By Marcel Michelson
PARIS (Reuters) - French film and stage actor Alain Delon sold a thousand bottles of his wine collection on Saturday with a big Chinese buyer pushing the auction results well above pre-sale estimates.
Delon, once called "the male Brigitte Bardot" for his good looks, is one of France's best-selling film actors with Jean-Paul Belmondo and comic Louis de Funes. While he never made a big splash in Hollywood, he has fans in Europe and Asia.
The sale raised more than 250,000 euros ($333,800), compared to an auctioneer's estimate of 100,000 euros, with Chinese media businessman Dong Guo pushing up the prices for the main parts of the sale. He acquired 70 lots and fell short of his goal of acquiring the entire collection due to other bidders in the room at Fouquet's hotel and restaurant on the Champs Elysees.
Buyers from China, Russia, United States and South America were active via Internet and phone lines and competed with the some 200 people in the stately room in the hotel, decorated with gold-colored curtains, dark wood paneling and black-and-white pictures of film stars and scenes.
Auction house Cornette de Saint Cyr, which sold wines of the cave of the Tour d'Argent restaurant in 2009, said Guo was president of the Yubang media group in Shenzhen and aimed to invite Delon to come to his city.
Delon was not present at the sale. Guo, with heavy-rimmed glasses, was sitting relaxed on a front-row seat, constantly lifting his hand with finger-signs to indicate his price increases.
Other buyers, like Paris-based wine trader Guerda Brahim, said some prices were 'crazy'. "I came here to find some bargains to put in my cellar and sell them on to my clients," he said.
The bottles had a Delon cellar-sign which made them not just interesting for wine collectors but also for people eager to own objects that had belonged to a film star like him. This was particularly evident as 'Alain Delon' labeled champagne or cognac reached prices at sometimes five times their estimate. Continued...