Another chapter in the history of Lehman Brothers is now closed. At yesterday's auction, the artwork held by the once mighty financial institution fetched $1.35 million, almost double the $760,800 presale estimate by Freeman's Auctioneers. Nonetheless, it puts hardly a dent in the $250 billion that Lehman owes its creditors.
The auction lasted six hours and featured both fast-paced bidding and generous prices. Unsurprisingly, Roy Lichtenstein's Statue of Liberty print, titled "I Love Liberty," was the top lot at $49,000 (the presale estimate was only $25,000). Robert Indiana's "Polygons" prints brought in $23,750, almost four times the expectation. Every lot moved, the first time we've seen a 100 percent auction (high profile, at least) in a while.
Alasdair Nichol, vice chairman and auctioneer at Freeman's, cites "trophy hunting" as the driver behind Sunday's result. "What's not to like?" he said to Bloomberg News." "It's nice boardroom art, presented nicely, ready to go up on the walls. People lapped it up."