A key question remains unanswered about Michael Milken: Whatever became of his X-shaped desk?
The desk was an important part of the Milken legend. Scores of articles written about the former junk bond financier, who pleaded guilty last month to six felony counts, portrayed the desk in Drexel Burnham Lambert's Beverly Hills office as the command center from which Milken directed the junk bond Juggernaut of the 1980s.
Turns out that the desk, as are other Drexel assets, is being sold to pay creditors while the one-time Wall Street powerhouse is under bankruptcy court protection. Indeed, one person has offered to buy the section of the desk where Milken sat and probably will get it, Drexel spokesman Steven Anreder said. Neither the identity of the prospective buyer nor the price is being disclosed.
The sale of the desk raises an intriguing question: Could creditors get more money if it were auctioned as a collector's item?
Dana Hawkes, who heads the collectables department in New York at Sotheby's auction house, acknowledges that it's a tough call.
Hawkes doubts, however, that there is a big market yet for Milken memorabilia. She says items belonging to Milken would hardly compare as collectables to such sought-after memorabilia as the belongings of Elvis Presley, actress Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles.
"They have to be a legend unto themselves. He may be a legend in the future, but he's not a legend as of yet," she said.
. . . and More on Milken
A former Drexel trader did reportedly buy, for an undisclosed price, what purportedly was Milken's chair, according to a report in Investment Dealers' Digest.
But Drexel spokesman Anreder is skeptical that Milken's chair would be worth anything because it was ordinary. "You could have said any chair is a Milken chair. I could have sold you six Milken chairs," he said.
Show Biz Goes High Tech
While it can't do lunch or take a meeting, the William Morris Agency claims that its advanced new computer system will go a long way toward making its talent agents more productive. The $2.5-million system, which is being greeted with the kind of hoopla that usually attends the signing of a major star, is expected to free agents from their ubiquitous telephones and provide instant access to pending deals.
Morris bought the Next Inc. system from Steven P. Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computer. Its features include a voice mail system that allows executives to dictate announcements from their car phones and high-fidelity sound system with full motion-picture capabilities.
In what appears to be a nod to Hollywood vanity, agents' pictures accompany their messages, and there's even a program called "stress relief" that calls up games to play. "If you can't win at show biz, you can try your luck at something else," said agent Michael Peretzian.