Digital Domain auction: More than 1,000 people participate in Digital Domain bankruptcy auction

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The sale of a Ricoh printer for $900 at 7:32 p.m. ended almost nine hours of auctioning more than a 1,000 items from Tradition Studios.

When the auction began shortly after 10 a.m., almost every one of the 230 chairs was filled with bidders, and others lined one wall. All told, 350 registered bidders came to the auction and another 950 registered via the Internet, watching it on webcast.

The first item sold was a rather pedestrian blue laser pen for $40, though before that, one Internet bidder offered $1 million for the entire haul.

Auctioneer Kirk Dove, managing partner for San Diego-based Heritage Global Partners, which is conducting the three-phase auction for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, quickly moved the fast-paced auction on to more interesting, and higher-valued, items.

Within a half hour, Alison Colbert had bought Lot No. 49, a 12-passenger Mercedes Sprinter van, with a $35,000 bid, though the 15 percent buyer's premium and 6.5 percent sales tax added another $7,866 to the final price.

Colbert, who bid on behalf of her employer, Sunshine Fuel, an oil and gasoline distributor in West Palm Beach, was not allowed to drive off in the van because the federal bankruptcy court in Delaware first must approve all of the auction sales.

The 950 lots, encompassing several thousand items, were sold in the live auction because they were more likely to sell locally or would be difficult to ship, Dove said. Bidding begins at 7 a.m. Thursday on another 650 lots in an online-only auction and those sales will begin closing at 9 a.m. Friday.

Dove said that auction will have a soft close, which automatically extends bidding on an item for five minutes after the latest bid.

Colbert, who also bought the unique airplane wing table for $10,288, was among more than a few corporate buyers who bought numerous items.

Chief Financial Officer Don Pittman led a three-man team from ITS Telecom, the fast-growing Indiantown-based Internet service provider that bought several big-ticket items of computer equipment and furnishings, including a server cooling system.

Dove suggested it was a bargain, even at $63,687.

"It costs a zillion dollars in the real world, but we're not in the real world, we're in Auctionland," Dove said.

Joseph Visconti bid $459 for one of the more unusual items, an 8-foot-long pool table, he said he will put in his Port St. Lucie home.

Stuart-based Southeastern Printing was a frequent bidder through the Internet,

Another Internet bidder was former Digital Domain Studios CEO John Textor, who put in a bulk bid for the entire three days worth of items and also bought some individual items.

Textor said he participated in the auction with mixed emotions "to preserve an opportunity to move forward."

"We still believe that what we were doing in this community was a good thing and we have worked hard since September to hold on to that vision," Textor said in an email. "Unfortunately, the same week we re-acquire one of our key film properties, we learn that the building will be stripped of its uniqueness as a film studio."

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