Q & A with Harry Rinker: A Bottle of 1969 Château Mouton Rothschild

The bottle of 1969 Château Mouton Rothschild in question.

QUESTION: I have a bottle of 1969 Château Mouton Rothschild. The bottle is No. 32124. The bottle label notes: “Shipped by / LEXIS /LACHINE & CO.” What is the bottle’s value and what is the best way to sell it?

– KC, Hellertown, Pa.

ANSWER: Château Mouton Rothschild, a legendary wine estate, is located in Pauillac in the Médox region, approximately 30 miles northwest of Bordeaux. The red wine from the estate is legendary. Château Mouton Rothschild’s 203 acres of grapes consist of 77 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 11 percent Merlot, 10 percent Cabernet Franc and 2 percent Petit Verdot. The wine is first fermented in oak vats and then in new oak casks.

The Baron Nathaniel Rothschild bought Château Brane Mouton in 1853 and renamed it Château Mouton Rothschild. Philippe de Rothschild, at the age of 20, assumed control of the winery in 1922. At the time, the wine produced at Château Mouton Rothschild was sold in bulk to wine merchants who bottled and sold it. In 1924, Philippe began bottling wine at the Château. In 1973, the Minister of Agriculture reclassified the winery’s vintages as “First Growth.”

Baron Philippe de Rothschild began the practice of having a famous artist design the annual label for the bottle. This became established policy in 1946. Joan Miró i Ferrà, a Catalan Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramicist, designed the 1969 label. Barcelona has a museum devoted to his work.

The pictures that accompanied your e-mail are insufficient to judge the condition of the wine inside the bottle. I suspect it was not stored under optimum conditions, something that will heavily impact the price.

The label on the 1969 Château Mouton Rothschild, designed by Catalan Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramicist Joan Miró i Ferrà,

In researching the value of a bottle of 1969 Château Mouton Rothschild, I found a listing by an eBay seller asking $999.99 plus $20 shipping as a “Buy It Now” price. His listing notes: “Retailing in the US for $1500 per bottle.” The website Wine Searcher contains auction records and website asking prices for wines. The information is global. The listings for “1969 Baron Philippe de Rothschild Chateau d’Armailhac, Pauillac, France” include bottles sold in England, France, Netherland, Switzerland and the United States. Auction prices began with a low of $73.53 to a high of $1,695.70. Dealer’s prices ranged from $398.21 to $1,278.53.

Since the bottle still is sealed, selling it yourself is difficult. All 50 states prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages without a license. Some states allow a one-time sale of alcohol if it is part of an estate.

Selling your bottle at auction is one alternative. There are several internet sites such as Wine Bid or Spectrum Wine that are worth approaching. Although Sotheby’s has a wine auction department, your bottle does not have enough value to attract interest there.

Consider obtaining a copy of the Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Look for advertisements by vintage wine auctioneers and sellers. Glean the names of vintage wine dealers from the list on Wine Searcher. Send an e-mail with attached pictures of the bottle and label and inquire what interest, if any, the dealers have in purchasing your bottle.

My best advice is to not become greedy. The problem with high numbers is that every seller thinks this is what his/her object is worth. Since the cost of the bottle was minimal in your case, any money is found money. Seriously consider any offer of more than $200.

QUESTION: I purchased a box lot of 78 rpm Disney children’s records for $2 at an auction. In researching the records on eBay, I found sell-through prices more than $40 for some of them. I want to sell the records I purchased. What is your advice?

– P, Altoona, Pa.

ANSWER: First, obtain a copy of Peter Muldavin’s “The Complete Guide to Vintage Children’s Records,” published by Collector Books and available on Peter’s website. Take time to read the introduction. When preparing your sales descriptions, incorporate the information Peter provides about each record.

Peter Muldavin’s “The Complete Guide to Vintage Children’s Records,”

Second, using the condition information in Muldavin’s book, do an honest evaluation of the records. Any record with a condition grade below very fine will be a tough sale. If the record is scratched or missing the sleeve or album in which it was housed, the record’s value will be minimal to non-existent. Expect to find some unsalable records in the box lot you purchased.

If your research shows a strong sell-through rate on eBay for a specific title, then eBay is your best selling choice. If selling at auction, start the bidding at 99¢ and let the item establish its own market. Avoid setting reserves. You want to sell through. Make certain you request enough money to cover the postage and supply costs involved in shipping.

If you decide to use a “Buy It Now” approach, I recommend selling your records at half or less of the asking price of the other sellers. The maxim that “everything is fair in love and war” applies. There is no law requiring that you ask the same price as other eBay sellers. You have no obligation to support the market. Your goal is to turn each record in five days or less. Ask 50 percent or less of the sell-through values you found in your research.

Constantly remind yourself of the initial cost of your records. Once you sell more than $2 worth of records, you are in the black. Do not worry about any profit remaining in the records. You have cash. If the buyer is a dealer, he/she now has the record and either will put the record in inventory and hope a customer comes along or relist the record on eBay with the expectation of receiving more than he/she paid.

Good luck with the sale of your Disney children’s records.

QUESTION: I am 85 years old and have been collecting Madonna and nativities for many years. Some time ago, I went to a local stamp meeting and found an advertisement sheet from Mint Stamps of the World that pictured eight stamps issued by Antigua that featured pictures of the Madonna and Christ Child by artists such as Bellini, Lorenzo Costa, Bartolomeo Montagna, Raphael and van der Weyden. In the lower left corner on the back is “© 1892 Fleetwood, Cheyenne, Wyoming USA 73006B.” I would like to purchase a copy of this Mint Stamps of the World Madonna and the Christ Child sheet. Can you help?

– RA, Wooster, Ohio

ANSWER: I called the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce in hopes of finding contact information for Fleetwood. Although several business directories on the internet listed the company, the phone number provided did not work. The young lady with whom I talked at the Chamber of Commerce had no knowledge of the company. Others at the office also answered in the negative.

An Internet search resulted in a listing for a series of these stamps being offered by the Collectible Consign Mints website, which bills itself as “the collector’s online sales and consignment store.” A description for an album of Mint Stamps of the World sheet notes: “These numismatic stamp collector’s series were produced by Fleetwood from actual stamps obtained from through-out (sic) the World. The original collectors of these series sheets paid approximately $20 per sheet. This particular consignment set contains 26 pages that include information and Mint Stamps from multiple countries.” The album did not have a copy of the Antigua Madonna and Christ Child sheet.

I did find American-related Mint Stamps of the World sheets available in the inventory of Mystic Stamp Company (phone: 866-660-7147). I called Mystic Stamps and spoke to a Matanna, who informed me that Mystic Stamp Company bought Fleetwood in 2007. Mystic appears to have divested itself of the “foreign issues” and is in the process of replacing the American commemorative Fleetwood sheets with similar sheets designed by Mystic. Matanna indicated that Mystic would be glad to talk with you to see what help, if any, they could provide in locating a Fleetwood sheet of the Antigua stamps.

Individual Fleetwood sheets do appear for sale from time to time on eBay. In time, an example or two of the Antigua sheet will appear. Since you do not have a computer, finding an example via this method is impractical.

My suggestion is that you visit the local stamp shows in your area, take copies of the sample sheet, attach a card with your name, address and phone number, and hand it out to dealers, asking them to see if they can find an example for you. This is a long-shot at best. However, your choices are limited.

“Four Days: The Historical Record of the Death of President Kennedy.”

QUESTION: I have a copy of “Four Days” that is in mint condition and still in its mailing carton. The book was issued by The Herald News and chronicles the events associated with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. What is its value?

– BW, Altoona, Pa.

ANSWER: America will soon commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “Four Days: The Historical Record of the Death of President Kennedy” is a timeline history, beginning at 8:45 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1963, when the president and his wife left their Dallas hotel until Monday, Nov. 25, when his funeral was over. The account was compiled by United Press International and American Heritage Magazine. The book’s dust jacket allowed for the imprint of various distribution sources.

Amazon lists 48 used copies starting at $0.01. Three “collectible” copies begin at $33. The asking price for very good and better condition copies on Etsy, eBay and other internet sites begins at $9.99 and goes as high as $99. In the case of the latter, the eBay seller asking this price deserves an “Optimist of the Year” award.

The survival rate for this book is extremely high. Those who bought copies kept them in near mint condition. Take any offer or $10 or more.

P.S. – Do not try to sell it to a Tea Party member or conservative Republican.

Rinker Enterprises and Harry L. Rinker are on the Internet. Check out Harry’s Web site.

You can listen and participate in Harry’s antiques-and-collectibles radio call-in show “Whatcha Got?” on Sunday mornings between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Eastern Time. It streams live on the Genesis Communications Network.

“Sell, Keep Or Toss? How To Downsize A Home, Settle An Estate, And Appraise Personal Property” (House of Collectibles, an imprint of the Random House Information Group), Harry’s latest book, is available at your favorite bookstore and via Harry’s Web site.

Harry L. Rinker welcomes questions from readers about collectibles, those mass-produced items from the 20th century. Selected queries will be answered on this site. Harry cannot provide personal answers. Send your questions to: Rinker on Collectibles, 5955 Mill Pond Court SE, Kentwood, MI 49512. You can e-mail your questions to harrylrinker@aol.com. Only e-mails containing a full name and mailing address will be considered. Please indicate that these are questions for WorthPoint.

Copyright © Rinker Enterprises, Inc. 2013

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