Skinner Auctions has a great reputation among wine professionals even though it’s a relatively a small auction house. Skinner is a local fixture in New England where it earned four decades worth of is trust with art, furniture, jewelry and fine wine. In 2012 Skinner also became the first auction house to consign craft beer as well.
We interviewed Marie Keep, Managing Director of Skinner’s Wine Department, who says that working directly with the consignors “every step of the way” is the big advantage of a smaller auction house along with competitive consignment rates. “The services we provide are first rate, personal and uncomplicated,” says Marie.
Sell Wine Guide: What are the types of wines you are looking to consign? Are there certain thresholds for consignments (like lots size etc.)?
Marie Keep, Managing Director of Skinner Wine Department: We take consignments of all sizes from a single bottle to entire collections as long as the wine has secondary market interest and the wines are vetted as fit for sale.
Sell Wine Guide: What happens if a collection has highly sought after wines and also more obscure wines? Will Skinner consign the more obscure wines as well?
Marie Keep: We’re thrilled to consistently offer more obscure and esoteric wines to the marketplace – sometimes buyers even surprise themselves by their own competitive natures when an auction offers rare and unusual bottlings. Adding that facet to the auctions allows our buyers to diversify their own holdings, whether it be for holding or enjoying.
Sell Wine Guide: Does Skinner provide free wine appraisals for collections?
Marie Keep: Appraisals are gratis as long as the client is considering consigning their collection with Skinner.
Sell Wine Guide: How does Skinner gauge the Provenance of a wine collection?
Marie Keep: We ask the collector the complete history of their collection – source and storage - and inspect each bottle carefully. If we have further questions we’ll reach out to our network of professionals and the wineries.
Sell Wine Guide: For a first time seller who wants to sell some of his wine, what are the important things he needs to take into account?
Marie Keep: The collection’s storage history plays a large part in the viability of wine for sale through auction. Wines professionally stored away or at home in a custom-built climate controlled room or wine fridge have value added; conversely, wines exhibiting hallmarks of having been stored in less than ideal conditions will have greatly lower odds of being fit for auction.
Sell Wine Guide: There are several types of wine collection sales. Some lots are very big and diverse and some are small. What type of seller is the sweetspot for Skinner?
Marie Keep: Wine cellars are so reflective of their owners and all types are welcome. It’s always a joy to work with consignors who purchase directly from the wineries, store in professional storage locations and the wine comes to us absolutely pristine. And it’s thrilling to find utterly unique, untouched cellars of fine and rare bottles of wine and spirits showing the distinct imprimatur of the collector’s tastes, travels, and ambitions. There’s a lot of history to be unearthed.
Sell Wine Guide: Do the gavel prices hit close to market prices (like Wine-searcher.com low prices)? What are the seller’s premiums and commissions.
Marie Keep: The auction and retail marketplaces are two different models of trade. That being said, we frequently achieve retail results (sometimes beyond) – all it takes is two willing and competitive bidders. Skinner offers a competitive sliding scale consignment commission.
Sell Wine Guide: Any additional tips for prospective sellers?
Marie Keep: Connect with us! We’re always happy to discuss your collection and what you envision for your cellar in the future. Palates and interests morph and change over time and many clients come to us for assistance deaccessioning and clearing space for the new – there’s no reason your collection shouldn’t evolve along with you. We’ll work with you every step of the process and at your speed.
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