Now that an auction of Enron's precious objets d'art has taken place, the first of several planned to raise funds for its 23,000 creditors, we learn that a piece she bought for $590,000 three years ago sold earlier this week for $360,000, an investment return of –39%, still a much better return than her husband and Ken Lay were able to produce on Enron stock.
Bankrupt Enron Corp. raised nearly $1 million to pay creditors during an art auction that sold prized possessions such as Claes Oldenburg's pop sculpture "Soft Light Switches," which fetched $360,000.
A U.S. bankruptcy judge earlier this week authorized Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg, an international art auction house, to conduct the sale.
The five-lot collection had been expected to bring between $720,000 and $1.03 million, Enron spokeswoman Karen Denne said. In Thursday's auction, it raised $952,000 for Enron, including $135,000 for Jack Pierson's sculpture "Stardust" and $265,000 for Donald Judd's untitled minimalist sculpture of two boxes.
Enron creditors have filed 23,000 claims worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
If I owed you a few hundred thousand dollars, and managed to raise one dollar, how happy would you be? Proportionally, that's what the auction proceeds of $1 million will be to the creditors — nothing.
Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg, on the other hand, got commissions both ways — on the original sale and on the auction. Round trip trading in the art world mirrors that of the energy industry.