Friday, May 25, 2007

Hilbert auction at Sotheby's yields $8.8M

From today's Indianapolis Business Journal Daily:

Hilbert auction at Sotheby's yields $8.8M
by J.K. Wall

Steve and Tomisue Hilbert's furniture and housewares fetched $8.8 million Thursday in a Sotheby's auction in New York.

The total exceeded the estimated value of the Hilbert collection, which Sotheby's predicted would be $5 million to $7.7 million.

On June 8, the Hilberts are scheduled to sell eight paintings, which could be worth more than $3 million.

The most expensive item sold Thursday was an ornate, 18th Century chest, thought to be first purchased by an ambassador in Paris. It went for $740,000, according to auction results posted on Sotheby's Web site. A set of decorative sideboard dishes fetched $644,800, the auction house reported.

Sotheby's will deduct undisclosed fees from the sales total.

The auction comes less than six months after the Hilberts settled a bitter, three-year legal battle with Conseco Inc., the Carmel-based insurer that Steve Hilbert co-founded. Conseco claimed that Hilbert owed it as much as $300 million in unpaid loans and interest borrowed to buy company stock in the late-1990s.

Terms of the court settlement were confidential. It is known, however, that the Hilberts ceded real estate in Hamilton County to Conseco, which is trying to sell it. Conseco has had Hilbert's former mansion in Carmel on the market for nearly two years. It is listed at $20 million.

The listing ("The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Hilbert: Important French and English Furniture") is here (registration required). Sale total: 8,839,620 USD.

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