Decor from NY's Tavern on the Green up for auction

Wed Jan 6, 2010 5:16pm EST
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Fans of New York's Tavern on the Green, a lavish eatery popular with tourists that closed its doors deep in debt, can buy bits of its glitz and glitter as keepsakes next week at public auction.

The well-known landmark and one of the few buildings located inside Central Park shut down on January 1, and its outgoing owners are selling its chandeliers, statues and other decor to help retire their bankruptcy debts.

Tavern visitors, who once numbered in the hundreds of thousands a year, will likely recognize the wall murals, Tiffany stained glass, crystal chandeliers, etched mirrors and life-size wild animal sculptures, all up for sale January 13-15.

The outgoing owners, the LeRoy family, have said in court documents they are seeking $500,000 in sale proceeds. They are reported to be as much as $8 million in debt.

But with no minimum price on any of the items, the potential sale total is uncertain, said Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey's which is running the auction.

Some items have special value, he said, pointing to a shiny baby grand piano at an auction preview on Wednesday.

"John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Duke Ellington all sat down and tickled the keys. That makes it more than just a nice piano," Ettinger said.

Other pieces are one of a kind, with little precedent to set their market value, he said, adding: "It's breathtaking, no matter what your taste may be."   Continued...