Image: Tavern on the Green interior
Anonymous  /  AP
The restaurant featured lavish goods purchased around the world.
updated 1/13/2010 6:29:00 PM ET 2010-01-13T23:29:00

The chandeliers and Tiffany stained glass from New York City's landmark Tavern on the Green were being sold at an auction of just about everything in the bankrupt restaurant.

The three-day sale in its glitzy Crystal Room started Wednesday afternoon, with the elk-graced Central Park entrance sign first on the block. It fetched $5,000, surpassing the pre-auction estimate of $1,000 to $4,000.

Proceeds from the 20,000 items auctioned by Guernsey's are going toward the restaurant's $8 million debt.

Tavern on the Green served its last meal and closed its doors on New Year's Eve after 75 years, its faded magnificence buckling to the recession. Just three years ago, it was plating more than 700,000 meals a year, bringing in more than $38 million.

A former sheephold off Central Park West, the restaurant sits on city property. Warner LeRoy took over the Tavern's operating license in 1973, refurbishing the restaurant with lavish goods purchased around the world. He died in 2001 and his daughter, Jennifer LeRoy, became the establishment's CEO.

Tavern on the Green was known for its over-the-top decor, including a Regency-style Osler chandelier with cut ruby overlay glass that sold for $26,000 — far below the pre-sale estimate of $50,000 to $200,000.

Also well under its $10,000 to $50,000 estimate, a carved wooden eagle from the Tavern's front entrance, sold for only $5,000. The chandelier from the entryway sold for $15,000, against an estimate of $20,000 to $50,000.

But an Art Nouveau-style Tiffany glass hanging lamp sold for $16,000, topping the $5,000 to $10,000 estimate. And a vintage Wurlitzer juke box fetched $7,000, against a $4,000 to $10,000 estimate.

The prices do not include a Guernsey's auction house premium of 22 percent. There were no minimums; each item went to the highest bidder.

Other items being sold include copper weather vanes, silver candelabras, place settings, chairs, garden furniture and even uniforms.

Other items that bewitched visitors for decades include Baccarat and Waterford chandeliers, a mural depicting Central Park and a century-old chandelier made of green glass, said to have been owned by an Indian maharajah.

The restaurant's most precious item — its name — is not on the block. The moneymaking words Tavern on the Green, valued at about $19 million, are in court. A federal judge is to decide whether Dean Poll, the restaurateur who is taking over the space, can call his new business Tavern on the Green.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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