By: Benyamin Davidsons
Three years ago, 52 doors from the iconic Chelsea Hotel were sold at auction for a total price of roughly $575,000. When the hotel on 23rd Street, which opened in 1884, was sold and renovated in 2011, those doors somehow ended up in the trash. It was a homeless man, who had once lived in the hotel, who had the wits to rescue them and with a bit of help, put them up for auction at Guernsey’s auction house in New York in 2018. He even donated a portion of the profits to City Harvest, a New York food charity.
The hotel doors belonged to rooms where many celebrities had stayed over the years, including artists like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Andy Warhol. Where are those prized doors now? As reported by the Wall Street Journal, 27 of the iconic doors now belong to Bobby Sager, a 67-year-old former partner and president of Gordon Brothers investment firm who is now a philanthropist and photographer. He won 19 of the doors at the auction, including the three top gavel prices: Dylan’s Room 225 for $100,000; Joplin’s Room 424 for $85,000; and Warhol’s Room 105 for $52,500. Following the auction, he bought 13 more of the doors. In all, his doors cost him $403,000.
The doors are now on display, along with other original collectibles, in his 10,000-square-foot luxury Boston apartment. He bought 13 units in a high rise building and created a unique home spanning three floors. Some of the cherished doors are suspended from a ceiling on the middle floor of his home, door 603 is being used for access to his own bedroom. Other amazing memorabilia in his home include a bathroom from a 747 airplane, and a working submarine hatch that takes him to the floor below.
The other doors are scattered all around the world. Laura Aswad, 55, a producer at The Shed, a cultural center in Hudson Yards, purchased door No. 620 belonging to Jerry Garcia. As per he WSJ, she paid $5,000 over the phone at the auction, and gifted it to her husband Joseph Belluck, an attorney and huge fan, as a birthday present. James Siewert, 54, and Alysa Wakin, 52, were searching for two matching closet doors for their renovated home. They won two doors of the right size at the auction for $1,300, and $1,000. “More than one person has asked if we’re going to repaint them,” said Ms. Wakin. “I want to say, ‘Are you insane?’ We paid extra for the dings and cracks and imperfections!”