Former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen's top lot of wine, said to be among the rarest in the world, sold at auction last night for HK$1 million.
Christie's auction house estimated the total sale of 811 lots, which started yesterday and continues today, would raise more than HK$29 million.
"Henry Tang's love for wine began over 30 years ago," it said. "The upcoming sale represents a small portion of the Henry Tang Collection."
The auction - "A Vinous Journey: The Private Fine Wine Collection of Henry Tang" - was attended by dozens of wine lovers and collectors, with some bidding over the internet.
But there was no sign of Tang or family members at the function in Central. His campaign for chief executive was devastated last year when it was revealed he had a huge illegal basement at his mansion in Kowloon Tong containing a wine cellar, Japanese-style bath and gym.
By 9.30pm most of the wines had been snapped up after keen competition. None of the buyers would comment, although a few said they were only employees bidding for their bosses. One wine expert said the top collection - six magnums of Romanée-Conti 1995 sold for HK$1 million, the upper end of estimates - was among the rarest in the world.
These were bought by an internet buyer, who also purchased another magnum for HK$140,000, a little lower than the expected HK$150,000.
Wine expert Keith Wong Wing-kit, business development manager of the company Wine Explorer, said that if Tang had bought this wine in 1995, it should have cost him HK$20,000 for each magnum.
Another highlight - 12 bottles of Montrachet, vintage 1978 - went for HK$700,000, slightly higher than the expected HK$400,000 to HK$600,000.
Today's highlight will be six magnums of Montrachet - vintage 1992, estimated to be worth HK$400,000 to HK$600,000.
Sam Tam, Christie's China head of wine, said: "We hope to provide wine collectors with valuable access into Mr Tang's comprehensive collection and share his personal journey in wine."
The auction house quoted Tang as saying he was selling because, "I realised I have far too much wine, and I would never be able to consume it in a lifetime".