Hot shots: Refco fire sale to raise $5m at Christie's

Failed derivatives group's photographs to be sold
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The Independent Online

One of the finest collections of contemporary photography is to go on sale as the result of the collapse of the derivatives trading group Refco.

Works by Richard Avedon, William Eggleston, Cindy Sherman, Bernd and Hilla Becher and Andreas Gursky are among 500 photographs that will be sold in three auctions being handled by Christie's in New York.

The sale is by order of the US Bankruptcy Court after the photographs were removed from Refco's offices late last year. Refco went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October.

The first sale is this Tuesday, with most of the best works to be auctioned on 5 May and at a further sale five days later. Christie's estimates the collection could raise more than $5m (£2.88m).

The stars of the show are Avedon's "Andy Warhol, Artist, New York, August 20, 1969", which shows Warhol after he was shot, and Eggleston's "Memphis". They are thought to be worth as much as $150,000 and $60,000 respectively.

"The works provide a highly influential review of contemporary photography and its developing role as a fine art medium," said Joshua Holdeman, international director of Christie's photographs department.

Refco collapsed after it emerged that its British-born chairman and chief executive, Phillip Bennett, had hidden $430m of debts owed to him. The failure came just two months after the company floated in America, causing a massive investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.