UPDATE: With Warner Bros now asking its departments to cut their budgets by at least 10%, which will mean layoffs, the studio is selling everything including the kitchen sink. It’s all very hush-hush that Warner Bros will be putting up a bunch of valuable Hollywood memorabilia from old backlot props. According to the January 2009 issue of Art & Antiques magazine, the to-be-auctioned furniture pieces include the intricately carved wood furniture of German-born cabinetmakers Gustave and Christian Herter which decorated the homes of Gilded Age robber barons like JP Morgan and William Henry Vanderbilt. (Appropriate, yes?) These so-called “expressions of power and riches” were auctioned off by San Francisco-based Butterfields in 1942 and snapped up by Hollywood studios looking to fill their prop houses. As a result, their furniture has endured because of innumerable films. The mag says the auction will take place January 26th at New York’s Bonhams & Butterfields where 15 Herter pieces from Warner Bros.’ prop department will be sold. Including this Aesthetic Movement ebonized and marquetry bedstead (est. $300,000–500,000) that’s 7 feet high and originally sat in the master bedroom of railroad magnate and California Governor Milton Latham’s Menlo Park mansion Thurlow Lodge. The Herters’ surviving work has been commanding record prices in the past two decades. But I don’t understand why, if the auction is coming up so soon, Warner Bros wouldn’t want as much publicity about it as possible. What gives? Even the auction house seemed pissed that I knew about it. Warner Bros has only a “No comment”. Lemme see, outsourcing, garage sales, trying to settle the Watchmen lawsuit rather than give more billable hours to outside counsel… What else can WB do to save money?

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