Paying up for Provenance

jayer cros parantoux When fear of wine counterfeits remains high in the wine wine auction market, bidders will pay a premium for wines with superlative provenance. Such was the case with the Burgundies from the H. B. Harris collection, which fetched $7.5 million over the weekend in Chicago at Hart Davis Hart.

Harris, a real estate developer known to his friends and family as “Bubba,” got into wine in his twenties. He amassed a trove of fine wine that he kept initially in an apartment that he had customized into a wine cellar but then switched to professional storage in 1994. He died last year at the age of 78.

The 986 lots at the Hart Davis Hart auction all sold and the total of the auction exceeded the $4 – $6 million estimate. HDH printed some of the original receipts in the catalogue. I liked the fact that Mr. Harris bought the ’85 Jayer Cros Parantoux for $68.99 a bottle or $828/case back in the day. Six of those bottles ended up selling for $101,575 on Saturday.

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2 Responses to “Paying up for Provenance”


  1. I wonder which wines the family kept.


  2. “I wonder which wines the family kept.”

    So did I. One candidate: there is an invoice for 2 cases of 1978 Romance [sp] Conti, but none showed up at the auction. If Bubba didn’t drink it all up, I’d keep this one as well.

    I enjoyed flipping through the receipts for the various wine misspellings (Ch. Marjax) and hand-written notes. This was my favorite:

    “Bubba, Sorry for the broken bottle of 1971 R.C. [Romanee Conti], but it can’t be replaced at any price, none remains at the Domaine!”

    Of all the bottles to break!


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