Collectors Clamor for Corset and Cuvées

Madonna’s conical-bra corset may sell for as much as $24,000 at a London auction next week, and last week's French wine auction popped all estimates.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social network are tipsy from watching auction prices busting out at the seams.

The Jean Paul Gaultier-designed stage costume, shown here, is being joined by a whip used by Harrison Ford, though auctioneer Christie’s International makes no connection between the two.

Madonna wore Gaultier’s green-and-white corset for the 1990 “Blond Ambition” tour while performing three songs, including “Now I’m Following You.” Its formal estimate is £10,000 ($15,930) to £15,000.

Last year, a similar garment worn in 1987 during her "Who's That Girl" tour sold at auction for $72,000. {Today's homepage Featured Video}

The Nov. 29 Pop memorabilia sale will also include a black Lycra two-piece valued at as much as 12,000 pounds and labeled “Trashy,” that the star wore to perform the song “Vogue.”

French Wine Auction

Former French first lady, Carla Bruni, presided over a much quieter event, as the world’s oldest charity wine auction raised a record €5.9 million ($7.6 million).

The wine auction was held on behalf of a medieval hospital in the Burgundy region of France.

The 152nd Hospices de Beaune sale, held in collaboration with Christie’s on Nov. 18, sold all 407 barrels of red wine and 111 of white from vineyards belonging to the hospital, founded in 1443.

The top price was €270,000, paid by the Ukrainian businessman Igor Yankovsky for the 350-liter “President’s barrel” of Corton Grand Cru, Cuvee Charlotte Dumay.

Bruni stood by the auctioneer for that lot’s sale, which aided her charity foundation and the Fondation Idée, whose patron is the French actor Gerard Depardieu.

Wine investors, particularly from China, are buying more top-name Burgundies. They’re aware that yields from the most-coveted vineyards are lower in the region than in Bordeaux.

This year, Asian buying accounted for 12 percent of the value of the Hospices auction, as top French vintages continue to attract buyers. Police in Wenzhou Province China recently seized nearly 10,000 bottles of counterfeit Chateaux Lafite Rothschild.

Lafite, in particular, is very popular among China's nouveau-riche. It is believed that up to 70% of fine French wine sold in China is fake.

Prices for first-growths from Chateau Lafite, situated in the Médoc region to the north-west of Bordeaux, have declined by as much as 60 percent since the first half of 2011.

The smaller quantity of the 2012 vintage leads to enhanced prices. The harvest has been reduced by bad spring weather. The previous highest total of €5.2 million in 2000 came from a bigger sale of 727 barrels.

Prices of €55,667 and €38,318 for barrels of Clos de la Roche, Cuvee Georges Kritter, and Mazis-Chambertin, Cuvee Madeleine Collignon, were respectively 94 per cent and 58 per cent higher than last year, said Christie’s.

An Asian private buyer paid €57,780 for a barrel of Batard-Montrachet, Cuvee Dames de Flandres. Estimates for these Grands Crus ranged from €20,000-60,000.