ANOTHER URGENT WARNING ABOUT BAGHERA WINE AUCTIONS IN GENEVA

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Mike Evans
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AN URGENT WARNING ABOUT THE WINE AUCTION AT BAGHERA WINE AUCTIONS IN GENEVA ON MAY 22, 2016

#51 Post by Mike Evans » May 23rd, 2016, 1:52 pm

R.Oesterle wrote:
Auction of world's most expensive wine thrown into chaos after claims they're fake
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 42336.html

The article includes a paragraph reading:
Mr Cornwell has made several challenges to auctions of vintage wines in recent years. He has been involved in a number of legal actions, winning some and losing others.
Does anyone know of any actions to which Don was a party that have been won or lost? I know that Don has been threatened with litigation but the only legal action I know of is Henry Tang's defamation suit filed in Hong Kong in the fall of 2013 for which I can't find anything online addressing its resolution.

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#52 Post by Don Cornwell » May 23rd, 2016, 2:06 pm

Mike Evans wrote:
R.Oesterle wrote:
Auction of world's most expensive wine thrown into chaos after claims they're fake
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 42336.html

The article includes a paragraph reading:
Mr Cornwell has made several challenges to auctions of vintage wines in recent years. He has been involved in a number of legal actions, winning some and losing others.
Does anyone know of any actions to which Don was a party that have been won or lost? I know that Don has been threatened with litigation but the only legal action I know of is Henry Tang's defamation suit filed in Hong Kong in the fall of 2013 for which I can't find anything online addressing its resolution.
Mike:

You have it correct. I have not been party to any litigation matters other than being named as a defendant in Henry Tang's lawsuit filed in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong court specifically ordered that the lawsuit could not be served in the US. As far as I know, that was the end of the matter.
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#53 Post by David Glasser » May 23rd, 2016, 2:16 pm

That statement (has been involved in a number of legal actions, winning some and losing others) is so non-specific that it can be made about almost any attorney that's been involved in litigation. So it may be true, but meaningless with respect to the wine fraud exposés.

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#54 Post by J a y H a c k » May 23rd, 2016, 3:15 pm

David Glasser wrote:That statement (has been involved in a number of legal actions, winning some and losing others) is so non-specific that it can be made about almost any attorney that's been involved in litigation. So it may be true, but meaningless with respect to the wine fraud exposés.
Good point. I never thought of that. I've been involved in a lot of litigation over the past 40 years and I've lost some. AND I'M NOT EVEN A LITIGATOR!

Reminds me of a story many years ago when a guy named Helvering applied for a mortgage loan and was rejected. Why? Because he was getting sued left and right and there were hundreds of lawsuits against him. You see, Helvering was the Commissioner of the IRS, and every lawsuit against the IRS in those days listed the defendant as Helvering, CIR (for Commissioner of Internal Revenue).
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#55 Post by Glenn Gallup » May 23rd, 2016, 4:06 pm

I'll just repeat what my Dad used to say "First you need honest people"
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#56 Post by Maureen Downey » May 24th, 2016, 1:24 pm

Great piece by Tom Wark on his Blog, Fermentation:
http://fermentationwineblog.com/2016/05 ... y-comedy/
#ChaiVault, WineFraud

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#57 Post by Edward H. Earles » May 24th, 2016, 1:34 pm

Paging Don Cornwell!!

Here's another news item worthy of your comment. From today's Wine Spectator Online:

http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature ... e-Burgundy

Suit alleges that "....Richard Brierley, former head of Christie’s North American wine department and head of Vanquish wine auctions at the time in question; Xavier Nebout, CEO of a Bordeaux wine firm called Cep’Age; and Marc Lazar, a Missouri-based wine dealer and wine-storage facility owner.....[committed] fraud and negligent misrepresentation and asks for $2.45 million plus punitive damages...."

(Forgive me if you've already discussed this, I haven't noticed it here)

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#58 Post by brigcampbell » May 24th, 2016, 1:49 pm

Edward H. Earles wrote:Paging Don Cornwell!!

Here's another news item worthy of your comment. From today's Wine Spectator Online:

http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature ... e-Burgundy

Suit alleges that "....Richard Brierley, former head of Christie’s North American wine department and head of Vanquish wine auctions at the time in question; Xavier Nebout, CEO of a Bordeaux wine firm called Cep’Age; and Marc Lazar, a Missouri-based wine dealer and wine-storage facility owner.....[committed] fraud and negligent misrepresentation and asks for $2.45 million plus punitive damages...."

(Forgive me if you've already discussed this, I haven't noticed it here)
Don has a fairly detailed write up on Marc Lazar, he likes them really old or very young.
http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/vie ... 4#p1811501

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#59 Post by Don Cornwell » May 24th, 2016, 2:07 pm

Edward H. Earles wrote:Paging Don Cornwell!!

Here's another news item worthy of your comment. From today's Wine Spectator Online:

http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature ... e-Burgundy

Suit alleges that "....Richard Brierley, former head of Christie’s North American wine department and head of Vanquish wine auctions at the time in question; Xavier Nebout, CEO of a Bordeaux wine firm called Cep’Age; and Marc Lazar, a Missouri-based wine dealer and wine-storage facility owner.....[committed] fraud and negligent misrepresentation and asks for $2.45 million plus punitive damages...."

(Forgive me if you've already discussed this, I haven't noticed it here)
Ed:

I did post something about the new lawsuit against Rudy, Richard Brierley, Marc Lazar, and Xavier Nebout in the wine counterfeiting thread. http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/vie ... 7#p2020217 This is a fascinating one. Three of Rudy's four sales agents plus Rudy all in one lawsuit.

Peter Hellman at Wine Spectator, who is a friend of mine, did a fabulous job of laying out the story behind the lawsuit. There are other details about the level of involvement of Richard Brierley and Marc Lazar which are set forth in the complaint, a copy of which you will find here. https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/nyscef ... p71sy9ZQ== Also, I had written a profile about Marc Lazar entitled RUDY KURNIAWAN'S AGENT/DISTRIBUTOR -- MARC LAZAR in the counterfeiting thread in August of 2015. http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/vie ... 1#p1811501 That article discussed Marc Lazar's participation in this transaction and it included one of the documents showing that Mr. Lazar was consigning wines for Rudy Kurniawan to Acker Merrall auctions during 2011. The document in question was left in one of the boxes that contained some of the bottles delivered from Acker Merrall to the Wine Cellarage warehouse at the request of Marc Lazar.
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#60 Post by Glenn Gallup » May 24th, 2016, 4:23 pm

Well, it's pretty clear that there are a lot of Rudy bottles out there. They will be showing up for a long time.
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#61 Post by Edward H. Earles » May 24th, 2016, 5:41 pm

Don, now that you post a link to it, I do remember seeing it.

Unfortunately, this topic is so broad, it's hard to keep up!

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#62 Post by Glenn Gallup » May 24th, 2016, 7:28 pm

Gareth Welch wrote:Is Baghera French for Spectrum?
It's a town in Sicily semi famous as the birthplace of Cinema Paradiso director Giuseppe Tornatore. And the Targa Florio open road race used to go there.
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#63 Post by marc fischer » May 31st, 2016, 4:27 am

according to the press release Baghera had the wines checked by drc and drc is happy with them:

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2016/ ... rovenance/

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#64 Post by J a y H a c k » May 31st, 2016, 5:10 am

marc fischer wrote:according to the press release Baghera had the wines checked by drc and drc is happy with them:

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2016/ ... rovenance/
As we say in New York, that and $2.75 will get you a subway ride . The claim has been made before by auction houses and has been proved false. Don can chime in with more specific knowledge, but I would not rely on something in a press release.
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#65 Post by andy velebil » May 31st, 2016, 6:06 am

marc fischer wrote:according to the press release Baghera had the wines checked by drc and drc is happy with them:

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2016/ ... rovenance/
Since you joined and only posted this shortly after, do you have any affiliation at all, or are friends with anyone related to the auction house or the wines. Or in any other way, however remote, to them?
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#66 Post by John S » May 31st, 2016, 6:23 am

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#67 Post by Xavier Lavoipierre » May 31st, 2016, 6:30 am

andy velebil wrote:
marc fischer wrote:according to the press release Baghera had the wines checked by drc and drc is happy with them:

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2016/ ... rovenance/
Since you joined and only posted this shortly after, do you have any affiliation at all, or are friends with anyone related to the auction house or the wines. Or in any other way, however remote, to them?
Note that the press release only states that the wines "sold" at auction were checked, it says nothing about the wines which were withdrawn. Then makes some pretty low comments about the "real connoisseurs" not being mistaken about provenance. I guess Don Cornwell isn't a "real connoisseur." Who knew?
Last edited by Xavier Lavoipierre on May 31st, 2016, 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#68 Post by Soren R Nielsen » May 31st, 2016, 6:32 am

From the DB article : "Domaine de la Romanée-Conti examined every single bottle sold last Sunday.."
-Did the domaine also see/check the not sold, withdrawn lots ?
-And was the 1919 Rousseau Chamb. lot, really sold, and at what price ?

-Soren.

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#69 Post by Hans Hauser » May 31st, 2016, 8:39 am

DRC does never "authenticate" wines for an auction.
This is my information from the top people there and I do not doubt them.
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#70 Post by Jason T » May 31st, 2016, 8:49 am

andy velebil wrote:
marc fischer wrote:according to the press release Baghera had the wines checked by drc and drc is happy with them:

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2016/ ... rovenance/
Since you joined and only posted this shortly after, do you have any affiliation at all, or are friends with anyone related to the auction house or the wines. Or in any other way, however remote, to them?
Or are you in any other way "in the business"? A quick google search indicates that there is a Marc Fischer that is the head of Steinfel's Wine Auction House in Zurich, Switzerland.

http://www.wowexpo.ch/portfolio/marc-fischer/
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#71 Post by Alan Eden » May 31st, 2016, 11:55 am

First moral of wine auctions

Do not cross the berserkers !! you guys are brutal in isolating the details. Of course i agree 100% and these people ripping us off deserve to be exposed.
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#72 Post by Tomcwark » May 31st, 2016, 12:40 pm

What I keep wondering is not only WHICH wines were pulled from the auction (and by all accounts the 1961 Petrus was not among them—how much could it have possibly brought?), but WHAT HAPPENS to the wines that were pulled from auction. Will they be sent back to the Noble Cru folks for sale elsewhere, or will they be destroyed (or at least drunk for the fun of it)? And what happened to the results of the Auction? Will those ever be posted? Or shall I continue my pursuit of unicorns as a pastime instead of continuing to focus attention on the outcome of this weird auction.
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#73 Post by Don Cornwell » May 31st, 2016, 1:19 pm

Since Baghera apparently doesn't want to admit which lots were withdrawn, I will tell everyone. Baghera withdrew the following lots immediately before the sale, all of which were discussed in this thread:

Lot 1- Mixed 1978 DRC wines, including the 1978 Romanee Conti with embossed glass (vintage 1974 bottle)

Lot 59 - 1952 Romanee Conti

Lot 61 - 1962 Romanee Conti

Lot 63 - 1978 Romanee Conti with embossed glass (vintage 1974 bottle)

Lot 65 - 1980 Romanee Conti magnum

Lot 66 - 1980 Romanee Conti magnum

While I don't have a results sheet, apparently, all of the other problematic lots discussed in this thread were sold.

DRC did inspect the DRC wines that were sold by Baghera after the auction. In the process of doing that they found one additional lot of DRC wines which was suspect and the sale was cancelled by Baghera. I do not know that particular lot number at this juncture.

According to Aubert de Villaine, DRC inspected the wines at the request of Baghera for two reasons: (1) the controversy surrounding the DRC wines based on my post and (2) Baghera had represented in the catalog and pre-auction publicity, based on representations made to them by their consignor, "that we [DRC] had checked 'all the bottles' that were offered, which was wrong, we had checked a few of them only."

As noted previously, the DRC wines and other burgundies came from Nobles Crus, the failed Luxembourg wine investment fund. This was verified by two sources, including a major auction house that was offered the same set of wines. Nobles Crus bought collectible wines for its wine fund from all over the world. The reason that DRC had previously inspected some of these wines was because it came to light that Nobles Crus had a large stock of counterfeit 2009 DRC assortment cases that had been offered for sale. DRC inspected the 2009 assortments on site and multiple counterfeit cases were removed by agreement with DRC.

The fact that the wines did not come from a single Swiss collector as claimed is also obvious from a careful reading of the catalog -- there were very few lots containing OWCs, very few lots from Swiss sources, and the composition of the various pseudo-assortment lots indicated that there was no way these wines were assembled by a single private collector as claimed.

Of the 266 DRC lots from the alleged single Swiss collector which were allegedly stored for many years at Geneva Free Port, only 15 lots contained bottles with Swiss importer back labels (see Lots 29, 50, 53, 57, 80, 83, 85, 94, 96, 129, 131, 132, 145, 213 and 258.) But there were many, many back labels from Italy and the United States. In the case of the 1978 DRC vintage, this collection included wines with front-of-the-bottle import strip labels from three different US importers (see Lots 1, 119, 122, 192, 194 and 230.) In the 1985 vintage, there were bottles from both US importers (see lots 123, 169, 220 and 231.)

There were various bottles (mostly single bottles) from all over the rest of Europe, including Belgium (Lots 44, 55, 56, 109, 164, 229, 240, 257 and 262), Luxembourg (Lots 55 and 58), Germany (Lots 52, 111, 148, 149, 163, 165, 213 and 217), the UK (Lots 57, 141, 142, 147, 179, 221, 228 and 237), Spain (Lot 206) and Austria (Lots 38, 50 and 107). There were also bottles with no back labels, sometimes with Leroy strips and sometimes without, which were presumably from France.

But the lots I found most interesting included wines, usually single bottles, that had DRC importer back labels from Australia (Lots 47, 104, 144), New Zealand (Lot 26), Japan (Lot 202) and Israel (Lot 110.) Our allegedly intrepid Swiss DRC collector seems to have had disdain for purchasing DRC wines sourced in his own country, but unlike many other European collectors, wasn't hesitant to buy bottles from the US, and also wasn't hesitant to buy single bottles of DRC wine from the great majority of other countries around the world where the wines are sold.

Given the problems that arose in this auction, and the complete misrepresentation as to the provenance of the wines offered, my colleagues and I have gone back for a look at Baghera's initial auction in December 2015. I anticipate additional developments.
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#74 Post by billnanson » May 31st, 2016, 1:40 pm

Tomcwark wrote:What I keep wondering is not only WHICH wines were pulled from the auction (and by all accounts the 1961 Petrus was not among them—how much could it have possibly brought?), but WHAT HAPPENS to the wines that were pulled from auction. Will they be sent back to the Noble Cru folks for sale elsewhere, or will they be destroyed (or at least drunk for the fun of it)? And what happened to the results of the Auction? Will those ever be posted? Or shall I continue my pursuit of unicorns as a pastime instead of continuing to focus attention on the outcome of this weird auction.
Well, if a domaine inspects an obviously false bottle, they do not return the bottle(s) - it would be interesting to know if that was the case here eh?!
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#75 Post by g.colangelo » May 31st, 2016, 1:52 pm

Glenn Gallup wrote:
Gareth Welch wrote:Is Baghera French for Spectrum?
It's a town in Sicily semi famous as the birthplace of Cinema Paradiso director Giuseppe Tornatore. And the Targa Florio open road race used to go there.
That would be Bagheria :-)
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#76 Post by Brian King » May 31st, 2016, 2:09 pm

Is Swiss law pertaining to auctions as tough as some other elements of the Swiss penal code? For instance, I know that traffic laws are maniacally enforced, as is cross-border importation of wine above the personal allotment. If so, I'd sure hate to be on the receiving end of an investigation

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#77 Post by Tom Pavlovic » May 31st, 2016, 6:01 pm

Thank you Don, for your brilliant analysis. You are the definition of a Connoisseur.

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#78 Post by Glen Gold » May 31st, 2016, 7:59 pm

Don saying, "I anticipate additional developments" should strike the same note of dread in a crook's heart as Image
Avatar = Jeremy from Peep Show.

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#79 Post by Tom Mann » June 7th, 2016, 4:30 am

Statement sent out by email today by Baghera (my bold):

'Preserved in Geneva’s Free Port for several years, this collection of over 1,400 bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines is the most significant range of DRC offered at auction in the past 2 decades. Exceptionally, considering the eminence of the collection and with a view to guarantee our clients’ full peace of mind, the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti examined every single bottle sold on Sunday 22nd of May. This unprecedented action emanating from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti as concerns bottles offered at auction, corroborated and endorsed Baghera Wines' initial expertise and methodological approach.'
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#80 Post by RichSteinberg » June 7th, 2016, 5:52 am

Bravo!
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#81 Post by Alain Boquet » November 6th, 2016, 7:39 am

I don't know if you've discussed that new Baghera auction somewhere (sorry if I'm at the wrong place), but have a look at the "vertical collection" of Mouton they are offering at a sale next tuesday:
- all bottles (except 1962, 1969 and 1972) from 1945 to 1979 have "la bergerie" capsule: clearly not Mouton capsules (and the capsule are too long to allow to see the vintage on the cork as you can usually do with old mouton)
- labels are not numbered. Those are the usual label you find for a few euros on ebay.

Do you know anything about those "la bergerie" capsules?

Maybe Don Cornwell has already talked about this collection.

Thanks

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#82 Post by Scott Everson » November 6th, 2016, 8:18 am

I love these posts, and I think DC is Berserker #1. I'm concerned however that these posts are great counterfeit tutorials. If you are trying to counterfeit wines, wouldn't DC's posts be excellent tutorials? It's scary how amateur some of these mistakes are, and scarier to think how many good fake bottles must be out there. I wonder what percent of the world's "DRC" is actually DRC? 90%. Maybe 50% in China.

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#83 Post by Benny H. » November 6th, 2016, 8:37 am

I really enjoyed your post. I've never purchased old, rare wines because I've always been concerned as to the authenticity. I did buy a few bottles of 2010 Pegau from an auction once - not terribly expensive. I was disappointed when they showed up and the bottles (from the same lot) had 2 different capsules. Also, the label on the ones I thought fake had wrinkles in them - clearly not applied at the winery. I was a bit shocked that someone would bother to fake mid-priced wines. The bottles are still sitting in my cellar...
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#84 Post by Soren R Nielsen » November 6th, 2016, 8:42 am

Alain, I agree these lots of Mouton R. looks fishy.

Philippe de Rothschild owns and made this Chateau La Bergerie - St. Estephe.
1964 La Bergerie St Estephe - Ph. Rothshild.jpg
1964 La Bergerie St Estephe - Ph. Rothshild.jpg (13.74 KiB) Viewed 3956 times
-Their capsules looks like the ones used on the Baghera Moutons...

The Baghera 1961 Mouton :
1961 MR wrong cap.jpg
1961 MR wrong cap.jpg (7.29 KiB) Viewed 3923 times
And 1964 Ch. La Bergerie
1964 La Bergerie St Estephe - Ph. Rothshild 2.jpg
1964 La Bergerie St Estephe - Ph. Rothshild 2.jpg (8.37 KiB) Viewed 3956 times
The numberless labels, are definitely not usual either !

Very suspicious vertical, if not explained further.

Thanks for posting.
-Søren.

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ANOTHER URGENT WARNING ABOUT BAGHERA WINE AUCTIONS IN GENEVA

#85 Post by Don Cornwell » November 6th, 2016, 2:37 pm

LOT 37 -- the purported Mouton vertical is absolutely full of fakes

Alain is absolutely correct. Lot 37 consists of a huge number of obviously counterfeit Mouton bottles. It would appear that with the possible exception of the 1962, 1969 and 1972, all of the bottles from 1945 through 1984 are clear counterfeits.

With three exceptions (1962, 1969 and 1972) all of the bottles from 1945 through 1979 have incorrect non-chateau capsules from La Bergerie.

The labels lack the usual Mouton bottle numbers or the printed R.C. (for Reserve du Chateau).

In many cases the glass is incorrect for the vintage. For example the 1945 Mouton is modern glass and the glass codes are obviously different. The 1945 Mouton, like many others from the 1940s, is a broad shouldered bottle with its shoulders slightly broader than the base, so that the bottle tapers gently downward. The Baghera bottle has straight sides, as do all of the others from the 1940s.

The 1945 Mouton in this lot is a one-piece label. The original was two separate pieces, with the top piece slightly less wide than the main label.

Many of the colors on the labels in the Baghera vertical looked muted or somewhat incorrect.

ImageImage
1945 Mouton from Sotheby's December 2014 Sale from the Cellar of Dr. Ed Planz____1945 Mouton from Baghera Vertical Lot 37

Image
Close-up of glass codes on counterfeit 1945 Mouton in Baghera Lot 37

This entire lot clearly should never have been offered for auction. It seems impossible to believe that the three principals of Baghera, all of whom were ex-Christie's (Paris), wouldn't immediately know that this lot is full of counterfeit wines.

MORE TO COME!
Last edited by Don Cornwell on November 6th, 2016, 5:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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#86 Post by paul hanna » November 6th, 2016, 5:19 pm

Yeah those bottles are clearly fakes....even a semi-novice would spot them!

Absolutely no excuse for them selling them, except as an attempt to defraud people.

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#87 Post by Humberto Dorta » November 6th, 2016, 8:11 pm

Thank you once again, Don, for the enjoyable lessons.
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#88 Post by David Wainwright » November 7th, 2016, 3:01 am

paul hanna wrote:Yeah those bottles are clearly fakes....even a semi-novice would spot them!

Absolutely no excuse for them selling them, except as an attempt to defraud people.
You nailed it Mr Hanna.

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#89 Post by Don Cornwell » November 7th, 2016, 3:47 am

The 1948 Mouton in Lot 37 is one that tells you that the inspection process was either almost non-existent or deliberately indifferent. You'll find the high resolution photo Baghera posted here. http://www.bagherawines.auction/assets/ ... -48_HD.jpg (Click once to increase the resolution).

ImageImage

On the left is photo of the 1948 Mouton posted by Baghera on its website. (At least I can give them credit for that.) On the right is an enlargement of the upper portion of the label. Notice that "S P E C I M E N" is embossed into the label.

Again, this bottle like the others has a completely incorrect capsule, a blank space where the bottle number should be, and incorrect bottle shape and glass codes.

Here are two correct examples of 1948 Mouton Rothschild:

ImageImage
1948 Mouton from Bonhams London October 2012 and 1948 Mouton from K&L Auctions
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#90 Post by J a y H a c k » November 7th, 2016, 4:55 am

FWIW, I have a 1973 Mouton (the Picasso bottle with the allegedly horrible wine) that I bought in the late 1970s from Zachys, probably when Rudy was in diapers. I just checked it. It does not have a Bergerie capsule but the capsule is much longer than any of those pictured above, I would say close to the bottom of the cork in the B&G bottle on the right above.
Yes, that's a DM of 1978 Mouton!

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#91 Post by Tom Mann » November 7th, 2016, 6:29 am

(back ITB)

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#92 Post by scott c » November 7th, 2016, 12:22 pm

Tom Mann wrote:Withdrawn from sale apparently..

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2016/ ... uestioned/
Wow. That was fast. Better late than never, I suppose, but it is disturbing to think that they only way to get auction houses to remove fakes is for someone to catch them, post about it on WB, and have it garner media attention. Imagine how many lots gets sold to unwitting buyers because no one here spotted them in the catalog (or there were no photos...).
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#93 Post by ATaylor » November 30th, 2018, 9:46 am

Another one going on this Sunday in Geneva:

https://www.tdg.ch/geneve/grands-crus-v ... y/17411349

Article is in French, but the basics are over 1,000 bottles (including mags and jeros) ranging from 1937 onwards with Baghera's estimate set at 4 million euros for the total lots. From the cellar of an anonymous collector..............
@ndrew

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Re: ANOTHER URGENT WARNING ABOUT BAGHERA WINE AUCTIONS IN GENEVA

#94 Post by paul hanna » November 30th, 2018, 6:40 pm

ATaylor wrote:
November 30th, 2018, 9:46 am
Another one going on this Sunday in Geneva:

https://www.tdg.ch/geneve/grands-crus-v ... y/17411349

Article is in French, but the basics are over 1,000 bottles (including mags and jeros) ranging from 1937 onwards with Baghera's estimate set at 4 million euros for the total lots. From the cellar of an anonymous collector..............
Rudy???

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