Treasure: WTC blueprints going on the auction block
In the spring of 2003, Eric Teschke landed his first job as an architectural designer for Minoru Yamasaki. His job was to clear out the old office as they were preparing to move to a new one.
“I was working with the retired former head of archives,” he recalls. “His job was to sort through all the archives and choose which drawings to throw away and which ones to keep. Each hour there was a massive pile of prints that he would throw at my feet for me to toss into the garbage dumpster outside. As I would grab the massive piles of drawings, I would look if there was anything worth holding on to before tossing it into the dumpster. I came across some beautiful ink on Mylar drawings of an airport in Saudi Arabia and the 18-inch-by-22-inch World Trade Center blueprints. I’ve been holding onto them ever since.”
In August 2014, Teschke decided to sell some of the prints. Using eBay’s suggestions of “no reserve, auction listing, $0.99 bid” he managed to sell a few drawings, getting between $60 and $350 each. Later, he began to wonder if he was underselling the true value of these drawings, so he consulted with a professional seller who explained that since he was the only one with these documents (the other sets were lost when the towers fell and when Yamasaki liquidated its assets through bankruptcy), then he should be selling them at a premium.
“I went through the effort to contact David Paterson, a former principal at Yamasaki who was employed there during the design and construction of the Twin Towers. I created a certificate of authenticity and had him review it, along with validating that the WTC documents were authentic,” he explained. “Each drawing now has a certificate of authenticity signed by Mr. Paterson with his contact information. With no idea what a true price point should be for the authenticated drawings, I decided to go with $1,599. I sold the first drawing at this price after it was online for only 14 days.
“I believe with proper exposure to interested parties, the rest of the WTC documents could potentially sell for at or above this price point. These documents are the only remaining original blueprints of the former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in circulation,” he continued. “I still have 273 documents in my possession from the set and plan to use a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of these documents to invest in my business venture ... My ultimate goal with my business is to invest in new research and development programs. I also plan to donate a percentage of the proceeds to the 9-11 memorial foundation.”
Those same prints will hit the auction block as part of the auction on Aug. 16 at DuMouchelles. Lot number 2022 bears an estimate of $30,000-$50,000 and appraiser Richard Fedorowicz, who took a look during the Trash or Treasure appraisal, has high hopes for the sale.
“If we sold them separately, each would be received differently,” he explained of the drawings, which include a wide variety of floor plans and related schematics. “We definitely have rarities here.”
The complete set in the World Trade Center archives was destroyed. Fedorowicz says Teschke’s pieces are definitely rare. “There aren’t many out there at all, even if it’s not a complete set,” he says. There’s also a chance the prints could sell for well above their auction estimate. A complete description of the lot is available at dumouchelles.com.
“This is really a trial balloon because there’s no record for this to compare against except for him selling a few on eBay … at this point, anything’s possible.”
Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to email@example.com. If chosen, you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Photos cannot be returned.
Item: World Trade Center blueprints
Owner: Eric Teschke
Appraised by: Richard Fedorowicz, DuMouchelles
Estimated value: $30,000-$50,000