Brand equity: Lehman Brothers trumps Enron

The brushed-metal sign of defunct Lehman Bothers that adorned the Wall Street firm’s Canary Wharf office in London went for $66,410 during an auction yesterday.

Lehman Brothers collapsed in September, 2008, precipitating the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

In 2002 Enron’s “crooked E” sign was sold for $44,000 after the energy giant declared bankruptcy in similar but shadier circumstances.

There is obviously a healthy market for the physical icons of defunct notorious companies. It may be a new way to think about brand assets and post-bust equity appreciation. For my money the Enron sign, based on Paul Rand’s elegant logo design, has the better long-term investment potential.

I wonder how long it will be before Washington Mutual signs come on to the market.

The Enron sign was bought by a Houston computer store owner for $44,000.