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Antiques from former Lehman Brothers president set for October auction

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REUTERS
Sotheby's New York shows an important Queen Anne brass-inlaid stained burr maple and yewwood desk-and-bookcase attributed to Coxed and Woster circa 1715 from The Collection of Niki & Joe Gregory. Former Lehman Brothers President Joseph Gregory, who often commuted by helicopter to work before his bank went bust, is auctioning off a collection of centuries old furniture and artwork from his Long Island mansion which sold in June. Auction house Sotheby's said on September 17 that 'important English furniture from some of the most notable cabinet makers, along with European porcelain and decorations' would be auctioned next month.

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By Reuters
Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, 7:24 p.m.
 

NEW YORK — Former Lehman Brothers President Joseph Gregory, who often commuted by helicopter to work before his bank went bust, is auctioning off a collection of centuries-old furniture and artwork from his Long Island mansion which sold in June.

Auction house Sotheby's said recently that “important English furniture from some of the most notable cabinet makers, along with European porcelain and decorations” would be auctioned next month in a sale devoted to the collection of Gregory and his wife, Niki.

Among the items listed for auction are two commodes — chests of drawers — made in the 1700s, estimated to be worth as much as $120,000 and $400,000, and a painting by the Dutch artist Bartholomeus Assteyn titled “A Still Life of Grapes, Cherries, Peaches and Other Fruit in a Basket, with a Rose and a Dragonfly on a Stone Ledge,” listed for $60,000 to $80,000.

Before Lehman collapsed five years ago, Gregory boasted he had a personal spending budget of more than $15 million a year, Vicky Ward wrote in “The Devil's Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers,” a book about how key personalities in the firm led it to ruin.

Joe often flew from Long Island to his midtown Manhattan office in a seaplane or helicopter. And Niki, who had a taste for expensive shoes, took trips to Los Angeles to go shopping, according to author Ward.

In 2009, Joseph Gregory filed a $233 million claim against Lehman's estate to recover deferred stock compensation, which is still outstanding.

The auction follows the sale of the Gregorys' home in Lloyd Harbor, New York, which was listed in July 2012 with an asking price of $22 million, Sotheby's said. Details of the sale were not immediately available from the auction house.

But real estate website Redfin.com shows that the house sold in June for $17.5 million.

“After many wonderful years designing, decorating and collecting for the house, the Gregorys are moving to a new chapter of their lives, with new projects and a focus on their own charitable organization,” Sothebys said in its catalog.

Their furnishings and artwork will be on display in the Sotheby's York Avenue galleries beginning on Oct. 18, and the auction will take place on Oct. 24.

Items for sale include a desk-and-bookcase, a breakfront bookcase and a pair of George III pier tables, all made in the 1700s by English furniture makers, along with European porcelain and decorations. The Gregorys will sell artwork in their collection by Robert Leopold Leprince and John Glover, which will be auctioned as part of Sotheby's Old Masters week.

Gregory, who was also chief operating officer of Lehman and long worked alongside Chief Executive Richard “Dick” Fuld, was let go in June 2008 along with Chief Financial Officer Erin Callan. He had worked at Lehman for more than three decades. The bank's failure in September 2008 was a major factor in precipitating the global financial crisis.

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