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Lehman Bros artwork up for auction to pay creditors

Lehman Brothers is selling off a part of its artwork collection, including a 10-foot corporate sign at the European headquarters, in an auction to return millions to creditors.

Collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers is selling off a part of its artwork collection, including a 10-foot corporate sign at the European headquarters, in an auction to return millions to creditors.

The artwork, which will be under hammer at Christie's auction house in London on Wednesday, is expected to fetch Pound 2 million (about USD 3.1 million).

Memorabilia that will be up for sale are paintings, antique maps, ceramics and even furnitures of the bankrupt investment bank's offices.

Christie held a preview of the artworks on sale on Friday. The auction house said many people would like to own the items associated with the Lehman Brothers, which until declaring bankruptcy in September 2008 and fuelling global financial crisis was a primary dealer in the US Treasury securities market. It was the largest bankruptcy filing in US history.

"We look forward to presenting what is a fascinating glimpse into the history of what was a giant of the financial world," Benjamin Clark, director of corporate collections at Christie's London auction house, said.

Collectors at the auction will also be able to bid for a plaque commemorating the opening of the European headquarters in 2004 by Gordon Brown, who was then Britain's Treasury chief.

The 10-foot corporate sign is valued between Pound 2,000-3,000 (USD 3100-4700), while the plaque is expected to fetch between Pound 1,000 and 1,500 (USD 1,599-2,849).

Meanwhile, more artworks from Lehman Brothers' collection will be sold by Sotheby's auction in New York today and is expected to raise USD 10 million.

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

The items up for Christie's auction are seascapes and naval scenes, tea caddies, cigar boxes, porcelain, and leather-bound books including the works of Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson and William Shakespeare.

Modern art includes "Madonna" by Gary Hume, once described by the media as "disconcertingly featureless," is estimated between Pound 70,000-100,000 pounds (USD 110,240 and USD 157,000).

Two etchings by Lucian Feud are also up for sale.

The items worth millions of dollars are being sold to help pay Lehman's creditors. The auction date was chosen to coincide with the second anniversary of the Lehman collapse.