Whatever happened to those damn ashtrays? My first job in NYC was as a host at the Four Seasons Restaurant and although I worked there only a short time fixing all sorts of things like grease trap maintenance, I managed to score four of their iconic ashtrays as a keepsake. That was a few decades ago and after Seagram’s Building owner Aby Rosen raised the rent to $3.6 million a year, the eponymous NYC power lunch spot has closed. But after almost 60 years in business, rather than pack up everything to move, the owners opted to put more than 900 pieces up for bid with Wright auction house, including covetable works by architects Philip Johnson, Eero Saarinen, and Mies van der Rohe. People (like me) were looking at estimates to say,
“Hey, I might bid on that…“
Nope. A set of four of those ashtrays went for $12,500 – some less, but not much. A bench piece called ‘Johnny Swing’ went for $112,500; Philip Johnson’s own banquette fetched $52,500; and the bronze street sign sold for $120,000!
(via CN Traveler)