The First Wine Auction

February 20th Celebrates The First Wine Auction

Today on Days to Remember we celebrate how on February 20th 1673, the first recorded wine auction took place in London.

Wine auctions have been regular occurrences in Europe for centuries. In New York City, they only became legal in 1994.

There were few venues auctioning wines in the nascent market of the late ’90s, but live auctions in the U.S. as a viable source of fine and rare wines for collectors was growing steadily.

Chicago and San Francisco had legalized wine auctions decades prior to New York, but never garnered significant enough results to become commercial centers in the global market of wine.

After just a few years, the Big Apple bypassed London as the core of the global fine and rare wine market.

Historically, wine auctions were live events where participants could bid via phone, order bid (aka absentee bid), or be present in the auction room.
In the past few years, the internet has changed the face of wine auctions.

Not only can bidders watch and participate in the auctions remotely online, but many houses now offer internet-only auctions as separate sales.

I would like to think it goes without saying that buyers and sellers would only choose reputable auction companies with whom to buy and sell wines.

But I continue to be amazed at the apparent success some dubious companies are still enjoying. To most of us in the industry, it is actually quite shocking how little the market has been affected by some very public scandals.

Caveat emptor is a Latin term that means “let the buyer beware.” Similar to the phrase “sold as is,” this term means that the buyer assumes the risk that a product may fail to meet expectations or have defects.

As we celebrate how on February 20th 1673, the first recorded wine auction took place in London.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell


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