Edward Gibbon Sells High at Irony-Heavy Lehman Auction in London

The Sotheby’s auction of Lehman Brothers’ art collection this past weekend worked out well for the creditors of the defunct firms, if not for Damien Hirst, but a similar auction at Christie’s in London today revealed the true value bidders put on Lehman Brothers memorabilia.

The big-ticket items in the London were a series of signs from the firm’s offices. Bloomberg reports that the biggest of the signs went for £42,050, a steep increase from its £3,000. Another plaque commemorating an office opening fetched £28,750, probably aided by the fact that it noted “Chancellor of the Exchequer” Gordon Brown had cut the ribbon on the building. As The Guardian put it, “a distinct whiff of bonus-squandering wafted through the sale room like cigar smoke.”

The firm’s failure inflated prices for other lots as well. A “handsomely bound” edition of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire sold for £2,375, though it wasn’t expected to go for higher than £300. Never underestimate the value of an easy joke around people squandering bonuses.

Earlier: Scenes From Lehman’s Art Auction