A case of 1982 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild has sold for US$42,350 at Christie’s first online-only fine wine auction.

The auction took place over two weeks, with all browsing and bidding done entirely online. It was the first in a series of online fine wine sales the auction house plans to run alongside its calendar of saleroom-based auctions.

Christie’s first allowed online bidding in 2006, with audio and video of sales streamed live, and bidders able to raise ‘online paddles’.

This latest sale – Signature Cellars – was run from New York and followed two other online-only sale pilots: The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor and a charity auction of Hermès handbags.

Signature Cellars totalled US$819,715 (€663,969), with 88% of lots sold. Buyers of the top ten lots were either Asian or American private buyers.

Christie’s said over 440 registrants from around the world took part in the sale. Bids reached ‘a frenzied pace’, a statement said, as collectors received instant alerts by email or phone when any other competitor bid above them.

The top ten lots included Château Lafite, Mouton-Rothschild, Petrus, Latour and Margaux, most of them exceeding or meeting their estimates.

A 6-bottle case of Petrus 2000 fetched US$26,000 (€21,562); a case ofLatour 1982 fetched $21,780 (€17,642), and two cases of Mouton 2000fetched $16,940 (€13,357) each.

Other vintages such as Latour 1996 and Mouton 1982 fetched $14,520 (€11,761), under their high estimate of $18,000.

Christie’s International CEO Steven P Murphy said more than 25% of registrants in the sale were ‘completely new to Christie’s’.

This indicates, he said, ‘that wine collectors around the world appreciate…the accessibility of the online-only sales model. E-commerce is a key part of our growth strategy as a company, and we look forward to expanding this exciting new model even further this Fall.’

The next instalment of Christie’s Signature Cellars series of online-exclusive wine sales will open for bidding on 16 October.