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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 11:11 GMT
Enron auction opens
33ft maple and walnut boardroom table
A table fit for Masters of the Universe
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By Jeremy Scott-Joynt
BBC News Online business reporter

The doors open this morning on a somewhat ghoulish ritual.

With disgraced energy giant Enron's UK operations in administration, the accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers now running the show are duty-bound to sell off as much of the company's property as possible.

So the company's palatial offices in London's Grosvenor Square - with a boardroom overlooking the gardens of Buckingham Palace, the Queen's residence, have been turned into an auction room.

Bidders can poke and prowl their way around close to 9,000 lots which range from plasma flat screens worth upwards of 10,000 to a wide-gauge model railway - complete with two steam engines and a rail-mounted hovercraft.

For those who can't be there in person - and numbers have been tightly controlled by the administrators, who have been keen to keep the press out - the auction is being webcast.

How the other half lived

The list of what is on offer showcases the luxury with which Enron surrounded its employees - at least until they found themselves shellshocked, bereft of redundancy and out on the street.

A $600 Herman Miller chair
Avoid backache. A snip at $600

The 2000 office chairs in the sale are $600 Herman Miller Aerons, an iconic design that goes some way beyond the traditional swivel-and-adjustable-tilt which has plagued office-workers' backs for years.

Piles of electronic kit - Cisco routers and switches, the nuts and bolts of an office network - offer some lucky punter the chance to kit out his or her company on the cheap.

For the truly megalomaniac, look no further than Lot 5,536: a 33-foot maple and walnut boardroom table.

Also on the block from 27 February to 1 March are artworks - 43 of them, all specially commissioned - armchairs and even a complete TV studio.


But those looking for the lighter side will be disappointed.

Gym equipment from Enron's London HQ
No longer available, tragically

Originally on the list were stacks of gymnasium and canteen equipment, from icemakers to exercise bikes, industrial refrigerators to - believe it or not - two machines for squeezing the water out of swimsuits.

No longer. "All gymnasium, catering and associated equipment has been withdrawn," according to auctioneers Bache Treharne.

And the five shredders which once made up lots 482-486 are no longer on sale either. No explanation has been given.

See also:

06 Feb 02 | Business
Enron memorabilia market booms
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