The line outside the Gotham Book Mart in Midtown snaked down the block yesterday morning. Several dozen eager bargain hunters, book dealers, art collectors and former employees of the storied shop waited to bid on a piece of literary history.
They had each put down a $1,000 deposit for the privilege of attending the auction. Books signed by John Updike. Letters from D. H. Lawrence and Anaïs Nin. Andy Warhol’s wig rack. All were up for sale.
In the end though, all the property that was auctioned went to the building’s landlord for $400,000.
The auction was ordered after a judgment last fall evicting the store’s owner, Andreas Brown, over a claim of more than a half-million dollars in rent owed. Now the landlord plans to sell the property.
Yesterday, Mr. Brown, 74, got teary while removing books from the shelves in his office. He left before the auction began.
“It’s a bit like interviewing me at my own funeral,” said Mr. Brown, who has a penchant for quoting Mark Twain.
Even from the beginning, many at the auction figured that they would be outbid. Many also seemed disappointed that the goods being auctioned were in such large lots that only major players stood a chance. ( more from NYtimes )
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