Lehman Brothers sign to beat $18,000 estimate?

The Lehman Brothers sign that hung above its London Canary Wharf offices is to auction at Christie's with an estimate of $12,000-18,000 on September 17 - two days after the five-year anniversary of the largest bankruptcy in history.

In just over a century Lehman Brothers went from being a family run convenience store in 1850 to one of the most powerful investment banks the world has ever seen.

Lehman Brothers sign
The sign is made of polished and brushed metal

On September 15, 2008, shortly after midnight in New York, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection - the largest such filing in the history of the US, with Lehman holding over $600bn in assets. As the bank went into administration in Europe the shockwaves spread - igniting the biggest banking crisis in living memory.

The sign has sold before, realising £42,050 ($66,439) at Christie's London in 2010 against an initial high estimate of £3,000 ($4,500) - an impressive increase of 1,301%.  With things looking a little brighter than they did five years ago, it is likely that it could once again surpass expectations at auction.

There have been previous sales of memorabilia pertaining to Lehman Brothers - in 2011 a 10c stock certificate from 1994 sold for $33,100.

In the years following the crisis something of a fire sale took place, with the company auctioning off much of the art collection it held as assets in a last ditch attempt to pay back some of its creditors.

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