Would you pay more than $1,000 for a cigar? An anonymous bidder did recently at a London auction of aged cigars, nearly all of them Cuban. The auction, held at Boisdales for London retailer C. Gars Ltd., raised more than $600,000, including auction premiums.
The star cigar was a mostly empty box of Cuban Dunhill Estupendos, Churchill-sized smokes packed in white tubes. Six of the Dunhills, which were rolled in the 1980s, sold for £4,000 ($6,462), or £667 per cigar, worth $1,077 at today’s exchange rates.
Dunhills commanded the highest prices per cigar, far higher than even Cuban Davidoffs. Most of the lots were sold, with only six of the 301 lots failing to sell.
“Our Winter 2013 Vintage Cigar Auction saw a huge increase in absentee bidders from the Far East where the thirst for limited-edition Cohiba, in particular, continues at a faster pace than ever,” said Mitchell Orchant, owner of C. Gars Ltd. Brian Ebbesen, formerly of Christie’s, served as auctioneer.
The prize for the most valuable lot went to a Partagás 155th Aniversario Humidor, a celebratory piece made in 2000 to honor the 155th anniversary of the Partagás cigar brand. The large humidor features a bottom compartment with four drawers that swing away from the humidor’s body. Inside the humidor are four types of specially banded Partagás cigars, including the Salomones size, with 155 cigars in all. It sold for £8,800 ($14,200), for a value of £56 ($90) per cigar.
There were a number of Cuban Davidoffs on the block. The most abundant were Davidoff 3000s, slim gran panatelas measuring 7 inches long by 33 ring gauge. Four of the boxes were full, and one contained only nine cigars. They sold for an average of £33 ($53) per cigar. The bigger, thicker and eminently more collectible Davidoff No. 1s sold for £71.80 ($116) per cigar. The highest price went to an open box containing six cigars from the 1970s, which sold for £520 ($840), or £86.76 ($140) per cigar. Two boxes of Davidoff No. 2s, measuring 6 by 38, sold for an average of £70 ($113) per cigar.
The champion Davidoff was the very rare, very large Davidoff 80 Aniversario, created for the 80th birthday of Davidoff brand founder Zino Davidoff. A single cigar, measuring 8 5/8 by 48 ring, fetched £400 ($646).
But as much as the Davidoffs raised, Dunhills drew even more interest. “Dunhills have always been more desirable than Davidoff and the interest in good quality vintage Dunhill with provenance increases year on year,” said Orchant.
A partially filled box containing 15 Dunhill Cabinettas, robusto-sized smokes that are among the most collectible cigars in the world, sold for £4,000 ($6,462), or £266 ($429) per cigar. Two boxes, each containing 10 Estupendos, sold for £5,100 ($8,200) per box, or £510 ($820) per cigar.