- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 29, 2010

LONDON (AP) - Artwork from doomed investment bank Lehman Brothers raised 1.6 million pounds ($2.5 million) at an auction in London Wednesday _ a tiny fraction of the $613 billion in debts held by the company when it collapsed.

Christie’s said a 10 foot-long (3 meter-long) sign that adorned the bank’s European headquarters sold for 42,050 pounds ($66,500), while a plaque commemorating the opening of the office by ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown was purchased for 28,750 pounds ($45,400).

“The chance to own a piece of history does not come up very often,” said Barry Gilbertson, a partner at administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Other items sold included furniture, and artworks _ including “Madonna,” a portrait of the singer by British artist Gary Hume, which fetched 73,250 pounds ($115,735).

Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008. It was the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history and helped cause one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression.

Gilbertson said administrators had held off selling the items until now to wait for a revival in the global art market.

The items are among millions of dollars’ (euros’) worth of items being sold to help pay Lehman’s creditors.

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