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Local Auction House Sells Frank Lloyd Wright Urn For $772K

A copper urn designed by Frank Lloyd Wright sold for $772,000 at an auction in Chicago. (Credit: CBS)

A copper urn designed by Frank Lloyd Wright sold for $772,000 at an auction in Chicago. (Credit: CBS)

Roseanne Tellez Roseanne Tellez
Roseanne Tellez is the co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago′s midday News at...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – If you’re one of those people who buys artwork to match the couch, this will shock you. An anonymous bidder has paid $772,000 to a Chicago auction house for an urn.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez visited one of the few places left where people are willing to plunk down big bucks.

The stock market? Forget it. Real estate? No way. The investor we’re going to tell you about yearned for an urn.

A copper urn offered up at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on Monday was sold to an anonymous buyer for $772,000.

The value comes from its connection to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Hindman said it was designed by the famous architect.

Back in the 1960’s, no one cared about that and a Chicago couple got a real bargain, buying a pair of the urns for $70, Hindman said.

“They took them home on the train and sold them to someone and they were then again sold, then again sold. They’re back on the market and this one of two sold for $772,000,” she said.

So did they put a plant in it?

“They tell a joke about how it was a waste basket,” said Hindman.

Then there were two very rickety chairs.

“They are not in very good condition, but they’re very, very rare and important,” said Hindman.

The oak wagon wheel chairs designed by Wharton Esherick sold for $67,000. A pair of silvered bronze lamps went for $158,000 – double what was expected.

“Things are selling for crazy prices,” Hindman said. “We’re having our best year ever, because people are investing in tangible assets. … Rare things tend to appreciate in value.”

So the buyers on the other end of these phones are passing on real estate and stocks and stocking up on very expensive broken chairs and waste baskets.

The auction included some 2,000 items that fetched more than $3 million altogether.

But the money from the pieces mentioned in this story will go to the government. The collector and jeweler who owned them, Ralph Esmerian, was sentenced to 6 years in prison for fraud last July and is currently behind bars.