Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gotham Book Mart Purchased by Landlord

Scott Brown keeps us updated on the latest Gotham Book Mart news, noting that yesterday's 'liquidation' auction ended when the building's landlord bought the entire contents for $400,000 (since they were owed more than $500,000 in back rent, they'll basically get all the books for the cost of the auction, and can then turn around and sell them in lots or at auction). The NYTimes and NYPost also have coverage of the auction, which is variously described as "like a wake," a "sad spectacle," and "the end of an era."

A few paragraphs from the NYTimes story:

"Minutes before the sale began, the auctioneer, Eliot Millman, announced that some of the most desirable merchandise - including shelves of papers, books and manuscripts of the artist, author and illustrator Edward Gorey - had been withdrawn because their ownership was in dispute. A few groans and shuffles echoed through the room.

The auction started an hour late. The inventory was divided into more than 100 lots. The first offering was for the inventory as a whole. One bid was made. The landlord’s lawyer, John Faust, stood up and placed a bid of $400,000 on all the items being auctioned. Bidding then began on individual lots. But the individual winning bids would not count unless their total surpassed the $400,000.

As the bids came in - $300 here, $25 there - enthusiasm waned, and many prospective buyers left the room, knowing what would happen."