The late Aubrey McClendon’s wine collection sold out and generated a greater-than-expected $8.44 million in auction sales this past weekend.
Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., the auction house that oversaw the sale, said on Monday the demand was so strong that nearly 80% of the lots sold "above their high estimates.” In total, $57 million in bids were submitted through the auction company's online bidding platform and at a live sale in Chicago. The most expensive sale was a case of 1989 Château Pétrus, which generated $65,725. That lot was only projected to sell for an estimated $35,000-$55,000.
The total auction haul also exceeded expectations, as the pre-sale range estimate was pegged between $5.1 and $7.6 million.
The auction generated interest among the business news media after McClendon died earlier this year in a single-car crash just one day after being accused of breaking federal antitrust laws. He was well-known for his role as CEO of Chesapeake Energy (chk), where he helped grow the company to become one of the world's largest natural gas producers.
The Oklahoma City Police Department ruled the crash an accident, adding there was no reason to suggest McClendon committed suicide. Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department dropped the conspiracy charges after the executive died.
Born in Oklahoma, McClendon had close ties to the state where Chesapeake Energy is based. He donated millions to the University of Oklahoma, helped lead an effort to remake Oklahoma City, and was an investor in the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. As such, the auction saw particularly strong demand from locals.
"We had more than ten times the usual number of Oklahoma bidders on this record breaking day," said Hart Davis Hart president Ben Nelson.
Other highlights of the sale included a 12-bottle wooden case of 1989 Le Pin, which sold for $41,825, and an imperial bottle of 1982 Château La Mission Haut-Brion, which went for $21,510 at the auction.
Nearly 1,000 bidders across 42 U.S. states participated in the auction, the auction company said, with 68% of the total value of the sale coming from domestic buyers.