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Sign of the times: Lehman Bros sign, artworks, up for UK auction as creditors sell off assets

LONDON (AP) — For sale: a sign of the times.

Christie's is auctioning off the 10 foot-long (3 meter-long) sign that adorned the European headquarters of Lehman Brothers, along with paintings, furniture and other objects from the offices of the collapsed investment bank.

They are among millions of dollars' (euros') worth of items being sold to help pay Lehman's creditors.

The bank collapsed in September 2008. It was the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history and helped cause one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression.

On Friday Christie's held a preview of items from the sale, which is expected to raise about 2 million pounds ($3.1 million).

The 300 lots include works by modern artists including Gary Hume, Robert Rauschenberg and Lucian Freud, a selection of maritime and sporting paintings and office knickknacks — antique tea caddies, model boats, cigar boxes, bronze animals and Chinese ceramics.

Collectors can also bid on the headquarters' sign, valued at 2,000 pounds to 3,000 pounds, and a plaque commemorating the opening of the building in 2004 by Britain's then-Treasury chief, Gordon Brown, valued at between 1,000 pounds and 1,500 pounds.

The most expensive work, a large photograph by Andreas Gursky of the teeming New York Mercantile Exchange, will be sold separately next month and is valued at between 100,000 pounds and 150,000 pounds.

The sale is scheduled for Wednesday in London. More artworks from Lehman Brothers' collection will be sold by Sotheby's in New York this Saturday, at an auction expected to raise $10 million — a tiny fraction of the $613 billion in debts held by Lehman when it collapsed.