Composer toasts pounds 3.69m record wine sale

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Lord Lloyd-Webber got a little extra pocket money yesterday when his extensive wine collection was auctioned at Sotheby's in London, raising a total of pounds 3.69m.

The auction house was keen to stress that this was a new world record for a wine sale, but it must have been little more than loose change for the composer compared to his estimated wealth of pounds 550m which put him top of the entertainment millionaires in last month's Sunday Times Rich List.

Bidders flocked to the London saleroom for what was described as the greatest single-owner wine collection to be offered at auction. Only three lots failed to sell in the auction and they were sold privately immediately afterwards.

The total sale price exceeded previous estimates on the 18,000-bottle collection which had been between pounds 2m and pounds 2.7m.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, who dropped in at the auction house after the sale, paid tribute to the work of Serena Sutcliffe, the head of Sotheby's international wine department.

"I am obviously thrilled with the result and would personally like to thank Serena Sutcliffe for the huge amount of time and effort that she and her department have put into making this sale such a success," he said.

Miss Sutcliffe said: "This was undoubtedly the greatest wine sale ever and the unprecedented prices achieved over the past two days have confirmed this.

"The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection included the stuff of every connoisseur's dreams. It was the ultimate wine-list and wine lovers worldwide recognised the quality of these sensational wines and were determined to have them at any price."

Matthew Brace