Lehman Brothers' artwork to go under the hammer

Artwork that once adorned the walls of collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers will go under the hammer next month in a £2m sale, administrators of the business said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will hold the auction at Christie's on September 29, days after the second anniversary of the bankruptcy that almost triggered a global financial meltdown.

Works by artists including Lucien Freud and Gary Hume will all be up for sale to the highest bidder in the auction, PwC said. Another major work owned by the firm, photographer Andreas Gursky's New York Mercantile Exchange, will be auctioned separately in October and is hoped to fetch between 100,000 and 150,000.

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The sale of the works will however raise a minuscule sum compared with the 613 billion dollars (384bn) in debts held by Lehman when it collapsed.

Alongside renowned artworks there will also be memorabilia up for grabs including the commemorative plaque from the opening of the firm's Canary Wharf office in 2004 by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown.

This could fetch an estimated 1,500, while the sign for the office itself is hoped to land up to 3,000 for creditors.

PwC carried out a similar auction seven years ago in the wake of the collapse of scandal-hit US energy trading and power company Enron. This auction attracted bids from 43 countries.

"We think that there are many people around the world who would like to acquire some art with a Lehman connection, and we have therefore timed the sale to ensure that potential buyers can view and bid efficiently online," PwC partner Barry Gilbertson said.