Vertu is auctioning off its back catalog of phones with bids starting at $26,000

Luxury phone maker Vertu, which shut down its UK manufacturing operations in July, is auctioning off its back catalog of phones. The collection is listed on Bid Spotter, and is made up of 105...

Luxury phone maker Vertu, which shut down its UK manufacturing operations in July, is auctioning off its back catalog of phones. The collection is listed on Bid Spotter, and is made up of 105 phones from the Vertu museum, with devices dating from 2002 models to 2015 ones. Bidding starts at £20,000 ($26,000), and some handsets in the lot are finished in 18-karat gold, titanium, and stainless steel, while others are set with diamonds. What else do you expect from Vertu?

The auctioneer, G J Wisdom & Co, says the phones are a mix of concept models to fully functional ones, so some are not operational. The owner of Vertu failed to rescue the company from bankruptcy after offering to pay creditors just £1.9 million ($2.4 million) of the firm’s £128 million debt. Some handsets were sold for $30,000 in the company’s heyday, and offered 24/7 concierge services as part of the handset’s price. Just a year ago, the phone maker released its “cheapest” trio of handsets at $4,200 a pop — though they ran on two-year-old chips.

Given its history, suddenly $26K for 105 phones doesn’t seem so bad, though you can only wonder how much debt the company could have avoided if only it rethought the gold-dipped, diamond-encrusted handsets.