Madonna's $24,000 corset, $7.6 million wine auction

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Madonna's conical-bra corset may sell for as much as $24,000 at a London auction next week.

The Jean Paul Gaultier-designed stage costume 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 pounds ($15,930) to 15,000 pounds.

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."

A hand-made 12-plait kangaroo-hide bullwhip made for one of the Indiana Jones movies may also sell for 15,000 pounds. It was one of more than 30 props produced by whipmaker David Morgan and featured in the "Temple of Doom" film in 1984. The whip was first donated by Steven Spielberg to a Unicef charity auction in 2001, when it was sold for 68,000 pounds, Christie's said.

Wine charity

The world's oldest charity wine auction, held on behalf of a medieval hospital in the Burgundy region of France, raised a record 5.9 million euros ($7.6 million), boosted by bidding from Asia.

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 euros, paid by the Ukrainian businessman Igor Yankovsky for the 350-liter "President's barrel" of Corton Grand Cru, Cuvee Charlotte Dumay.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy stood by the auctioneer for that lot's sale, which aided her charity foundation and the Fondation Idee, whose patron is Gerard Depardieu, the actor.

Wine investors, particularly in Asia, are buying more top- name Burgundies. They're aware that yields from the most-coveted vineyards are lower in the region than Bordeaux. Prices for first-growths such as Chateau Lafite have declined by as much as 60 percent since the first half of 2011, according to a report this month by the London-based Wine Asset Managers LLP.

"The Hospices sale does matter," Adam Russell, sales manager at the London-based broker Domaine Direct, a specialist in Burgundies, said in an interview. "It sets a price level for grapes that are traded on an annual basis."

Asian buying accounted for 12 percent of the value of this year's Hospices auction. The smaller quantity of the 2012 vintage enhanced prices, said Christie's. The harvest had been reduced by bad spring weather. The previous highest total of 5.2 million euros in 2000 came from a bigger sale of 727 barrels.

Price pressure

"The 2012 Burgundy vintage is disastrously low," Russell said. "That's bound to put pressure on prices. Demand for the top-name wines is going to outstrip supply. As for their quality, it's too early to tell."

Prices of 55,667 euros and 38,318 euros 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 euros for a barrel of Batard-Montrachet, Cuvee Dames de Flandres. Estimates for these Grands Crus ranged from 20,000 euros to 60,000 euros.

Sam Cam car

A Fiat 500 car that UK Prime Minister David Cameron bought as a surprise birthday gift for his wife Samantha has sold at a UK auction for 18,480 pounds with fees.

The Italian-made "mini" was offered by Silverstone Auctions at its Nov. 17 sale of collectible cars at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, with an estimate of 8,000 pounds.

The white 1971 Fiat L had been given to Mrs. Cameron in 1998 and had two subsequent private owners.

Fiat's 500 has now acquired the status of a collectable classic, following the company's recent successful redesign of the model, dealers at the event said. Another 1971 500 L, rebuilt to "concours" standard, sold for a further 17,000 pounds at this Birmingham auction.

Muse highlights include Robert Heller on music, Jeremy Gerard on New York theater and Greg Evans on film.

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