FOR Harvey's read Bristol Cream, but there is far more to this celebrated brand than the nation’s best known sherry.
The eponymous Bristol company, now part of the Allied Domecq
group, has been involved in providing the world with drink:
shipping it, bottling it and marketing it for over 200 years.
Many visitors to Bristol will remember their restaurant housed
in the cellars under the original premises near the harbour. Not
only could one enjoy a good meal there, but the cellars also housed
Harvey's wine museum, where all manner of artefacts related to the
history of wine-making and drinking were set in a series of
Now, with the company relocating outside Bristol, the city centre
premises have been sold with the decision taken to disperse the
museum contents rather then put them into storage. The result was a
three-day series of auctions at Bonhams Bond Street offering all manner of
temptations for oenophiles and collectors of wine-related
Kicking off with around 220 lots of wine from the restaurant on
the afternoon of September 30, which netted just over £60,000
towards proceedings, it carried on the next day with a sale devoted
to the museum's collection of English delftware, wine bottles and
This was followed in the afternoon by another devoted to its silver
wine labels and ceramic bin labels and finally by a sale on
October 2 featuring all manner of accoutrements relating to The
Arts, Craft and Science of Wine. In all this added up to just shy
of 1000 lots.
A single-owner collection, a well-known name, and some attractive
pieces that had been chosen with care and knowledge were all plus
points in the Harvey's dispersal. Much less of a selling point was
that all the lots attracted VAT, not just on the premium but also
on the hammer price, which meant prospective purchasers had to
factor in around 40 per cent worth of add-ons on their final
By and large Bonhams counteracted this fiscal disadvantage by
keeping estimates and reserves pitched at realistic levels. A well
illustrated catalogue and active promotion also ensured the
attracted the maximum number of buyers.
It says something about the measure of success that they managed
to get away all but a handful of lots and that the final net total
of just over £660,000 was around 50 per cent over the £400,000
The buyer's premium was 19.5/10%.