Lehman Brothers Art Work Under the Hammer

Monday, 9 Aug 2010 | 8:24 AM ET

Fancy a credit-crunch keepsake or a meltdown memento? Artworks, objects and office signs from the European offices of Lehman Brothers are being auctioned to help pay creditors of the failed investment bank, Christie's auction house said Monday.

Lehman Brothers
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Lehman Brothers

The Sept. 29 sale in London will feature works by modern artists including Gary Hume and Lucian Freud, a selection of maritime and sporting paintings, and a variety of tea caddies, cigar boxes and Chinese ceramics.

It is expected to raise about 2 million pounds ($3.2 million).

Buyers can bid on the sign that adorned the bank's British headquarters in London's Canary Wharf, valued at 2,000 pounds to 3,000 pounds, or the 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.

Brown was prime minister four years later when the bank collapsed in September 2008.

It was the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history and helped trigger one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression.

Barry Gilbertson of administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers said "there are many people around the world who would like to acquire some art with a Lehman connection."

More artworks from Lehman Brothers' collection will be sold by Sotheby's in New York on Sept. 25 at an auction expected to raise $10 million.

That's only a tiny fraction of the $613 billion in debts held by Lehman when it collapsed.


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