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The auctioneer calls lot 1208, the third to last in a five-hour auction at the Hotel Inter-Kontinental in Zurich. On the otherwise businesslike, austere face of the caller, a smile: "How high should I start?" This question never usually comes up in an auction. The starting price is accurately recorded in the catalogue as the reserve price. Lot 1208 is a mixed lot. Reserve price 200 +.

Under the heading Mixed-Lot, wines appear which hardly interest traders and which usually only cause a weary smile even among wine connoisseurs. Bad vintages, low fill level, little-known wineries, in short, what comes up during a cellar emptying and is to be brought to the man or woman by the auctioneer. Mostly, each of these mixed lots contains a special "draught horse", which usually justifies the minimum price or even the starting price and which is very often desired. The remaining wines must then be taken to it. Often a disposal case, not rarely however also a surprise.