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Reply to "LCBO/Waddington's auction March 1-9"

There were a couple of OK prices. A mag of I think 1992? D'Yquem for mid $800 for instance. The Grange des Peres lot I thought hard about. The problem is you look at say that lot of 2009 Pontet Canet. Went for about $400/bottle which is silly and even more silly when all out the door that's north of $500/bottle. But as a seller you're getting $320 which is near WS low in the US.

Unless we sell privately to other Canadian collectors, our choices really are a rock (Waddington’s) or a hard place (US auctions or retailers).

As John pointed out, between the buyer’s premium, seller’s commission, photography fees and insurance, running a Canadian auction house is a lucrative business. But it’s not so different in the US.

Take your example of the 2009 Pontet Canet. WS low is currently $230 USD. But if you’re selling a bottle you won’t end up with $230 net in your pocket. If you sell outright to a retailer, you might get 75% of that. And if you consign to an auction house, their commissions are similar to Waddington’s. Here’s a current listing for 2009 Pontet Canet on WineBid:

WineBid current auction
Starting bid: $205 plus buyer’s premium and tax = $258.44
18% seller’s commission on the $205
WineBid nets $84.71 (combined buyer’s and seller’s commissions)
$173.73 net to seller = $218.48 CAD

If you had consigned that 2009 Pontet Canet to Waddington’s, and if you had consigned enough wine to put you over the $8,000 threshold (a reasonable assumption), the seller’s commission would be 15%. So your net result on the P-C after commission and $20 photography fee would be $327.83 CAD.

$218.48 CAD net via WineBid vs $327.83 CAD net via Waddington’s

And this doesn’t take into consideration how challenging it is for Canadians to transport their wine to US auction houses or retailers: getting it across the border, shipping it (you can’t ship alcohol in the US without a permit, so you have to misrepresent it as some other kind of liquid such as olive oil, which means you also can’t insure it)... There are options like Iron Gate, but I don’t expect you’d be much further ahead going that route.