Lehman Brothers auction in London fetches £1.6m

Bidders at Christie's Lehman Brothers auction
Image caption The collapse of Lehman Brothers almost triggered a global financial crisis

Artwork from collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers and other memorabilia have fetched £1.6m at auction.

The firm's administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), ordered the sale at Christie's in London to raise funds for the bank's creditors.

Gary Hume's Madonna realised £73,250, and a sign which adorned its offices in Canary Wharf sold for £42,050.

The auction came days after the second anniversary of the bankruptcy which was the biggest in US corporate history.

'Optimum return'

More than 1,100 bidders signed up for the sale which lasted more than six hours and made £1,641,613, exceeding pre-sale estimates, Christie's said.

Among the highlights was a commemorative plaque from the opening of Lehman's Canary Wharf office in 2004 by then-chancellor Gordon Brown.

It eventually realised £28,750 - way above the original estimate of £1,000 to £1,500.

A work by Mexican artist, Gabriel Orozco, meanwhile, made £99,560.

Barry Gilbertson, from PwC, said the prices achieved showed just how much interest there was in anything related to the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

"The chance to own a piece of history does not come up very often," he said.

"The administrators were confident that, by holding their nerve for two years and waiting for the art markets to recover, they would be able to realise the optimum return for the creditors."

On Sunday, an auction of fine art from Lehman Brothers' New York offices raised more than $12m (£7.6m) at Sotheby's.

Another sale planned for next month includes photographer Andreas Gursky's New York Mercantile Exchange, which has a price tag of £100,000 to £150,000.

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