Forty years ago (next week) Christie's held their first wine auction. To celebrate this anniversary, they held a lunch today at their King Street HQ, hosted by current department head David Elswood and attended by the legendary Michael Broadbent, who joined Christie's in July 1966 and was in charge of the first auction.
I had a nice chat with Michael - among other things we discussed the appalling thread that a post I made on the eBob board kicked off, when I quoted some of his remarks at a dinner (which I probably shouldn't have). The rudeness of some of the participants still grates with him.
Michael recalled how the first 10 lots he sold as an auctioneer were to a lunatic. It was a series of spirit and liqueur miniatures. 'To my amazement the chap bought all 10 lots', he recalls. 'I was so releived.' However, two weeks later someone wrote on behalf of their friend, the bidder from this auction, claiming that he thought they were picture miniatures. 'He asked me, "could I let them off?"' Broadbent adds, 'If I'd known that the first person I sold to was batty, I'd have lost my nerve.'
During lunch it was nice to catch up with Linden Wilkie, Andrew Jefford, Stephen Brook and Jim Budd among others. In the picture are Bill Baker (left), Michael Broadbent is centre, chatting to David Elswood, and Oz Clarke is in conversation with Ian Harris (CEO of the WSET).
I wandered back up to Piccadilly with Andrew Jefford, where by coincidence I bumped into my wine-loving brother in law, Beavington. A nice surprise. A small world.