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Sony Pictures auctions furniture, props from its L.A. warehouse

September 8, 2010 | 11:51 am

Picnik collage
 Although it was designed as elegantly as a Craigslist posting, the recent two-day online auction of items from Sony Pictures' vast property department by liquidation firm R.L. Spear offered some incredible deals. Despite the shadowy photography and skimpy information provided on the auction website, I scored a 9- by-6-foot Scandinavian Rya rug for $50 as well as a black-and-gold Liberty armchair with a Harvard "Veritas" crest by Nichols and Stone, a 150-year-old Massachusetts furniture maker now owned by L. & J.G. Stickley for just more than $30. (Including the 13% commission and sales tax, my final tab was $99.41.) 

The good news: Both items were in impeccable condition (although the rug went off to the carpet cleaners, which will cost more than twice what I paid for it). The bad news -- at least for my wallet -- was that when I picked my booty up I got to see hundreds more tempting decor pieces that will be sold in two additional online auctions, which begin on Friday and Monday and end, respectively, on Sept. 15 and 16. 

Among the finds: garden statuary, pots and Tiki heads, above left, and a rainbow of midcentury metal lawn chairs with shell shaped backs, above right, that is part of a huge stash of patio furniture. For adventuresome landscapers, there is a grove of lawn ornaments, traffic signs and parking meters. 

1Picnik collage  Oddities such as a giant bear wielding a mallet and a black painted bust of Richard Nixon make the life-size bearded warlords, right, and phosphorus green bobbin chairs, far right, look tame. 

The auction that begins on Friday focuses on framed art and decorative objects and is followed by a day devoted to furniture, outdoor pieces and props remaining from previous sales. Other than registering and placing a deposit of $100 on a credit card, bidding is no more difficult than it is on EBay and tends to get competitive in the last hour that each piece is on the clock.

Items will be posted online on Friday at 10 a.m. and Monday at 10 a.m, when bidding commences. Merchandise can be inspected -- a good idea if you have concerns about just how serious "as-is" gets -- during a free open-the-public preview 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday at 5300 Alla Road, in Los Angeles. 

-- David A. Keeps

Photos: David A. Keeps