Wine from cellars of heiress Doris Duke to be auctioned

Tue Dec 1, 2009 6:15am EST
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Wine from the cellars of a woman once dubbed the "richest little girl in the world" will be up for auction next month at Christie's in New York.

Each of the four lots of three bottles of 1929 Chateau d'Yquem, which have a pre-sale estimate of between $15,000 and $24,000, come from the collection of the late U.S. heiress Doris Duke.

The sale will be held on Dec 9.

"For collectors, it is a rare opportunity to find wine of this age that can be traced back to its release," said Charles Curtis, Christie's head of North American wine sales.

"These lots of the legendary Chateau d'Yquem were purchased on release for the private cellar of Doris Duke, whose wine collection was one of the greatest in North America."

When Duke was born in 1912 newspapers christened her the wealthiest little girl in the world. She was the only child of U.S. tobacco baron James Duke.

Her father, who founded both Duke Energy and the American Tobacco Company which is now known as Fortune Brands, died in 1925. He left the bulk of his estate, an estimated $100 million, to his 12-year-old daughter.

Her life, with two husbands, numerous lovers and a butler who was accused of killing her, inspired books and films.   Continued...