Charlie Trotter's auction goes online

Charlie Trotter’s auction is being rebooted online.

In December the legendary chef cut short the live auction of his shuttered self-named Lincoln Park restaurant’s contents after only about a third of the 1,500-plus lots had gone up for bid. Kevin Bunte, co-owner of the Elgin-based Bunte Auction Services that administered the auction, estimated at the time that only about 10 percent of those lots actually had sold. The highest-priced item sold was a Viennese Secessionist settee that went for $2,000.

Bunte’s company no longer is involved with Trotter.

”The day after the auction, I received an email from his assistant asking if we wanted to finish it another time, and I said, ‘No, we’re out of it,’” Bunte said.

Now the Elgin-based Auction Consultants (auctionconsultants.net), which also worked on last month’s auction, is preparing to sell the items “at a timed Internet auction,” Auction Consultants President Scott Bowers said. “We have china, artwork, furniture, kitchen equipment. We’re still in the middle of dragging the stuff out (of the restaurant). We’re hoping we should have it up within the next week.”

Bowers said the auction’s format and the online company that will administer it have yet to be determined. “The items are so varied, we’re just trying to figure out what the best platform would be,” he said, noting that bidding would likely take place over a week or two.

The items are still being inventoried, he added, so he couldn’t say how many lots will be available. Trotter did not return a call for comment.

“We have them in a secured location, and we’re trying to catalog and photograph everything and get them sold for Chef Trotter,” Bowers said, adding that he’s confident this auction will be more successful than the previous one “because the chef has made a decision. He’s a driven man, and (the first auction) was hard for him emotionally. Most people only go through the auction process once, and it’s usually not a good circumstance. It was super, super emotional for him.”

At the first auction, several items had significant reserve prices, and Trotter had told prospective bidders, “If the things don’t go for what I think they’re going to go for, I will buy them myself.” Bowers said he was not aware of reserves being placed on any items for the online auction.

“The chef is committed to sell the items,” Bowers said. “The clock is ticking.”

mcaro@tribune.com
Twitter @MarkCaro

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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