PROVIDENCE — Some bidders were after the medieval swords and ghoulish action figures while others hunted for deals on office chairs and laptops.
The auction to sell off contents from 38 Studios LLC, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's failed video game company that owes creditors as much as $150 million, drew hundreds of people — ex-employees, bargain-hunters, and curiosity-seekers — Tuesday to the company’s former headquarters in Providence.
The standing-room-only crowd on the second floor of the building bid on 1,200 lots that ranged from memorabilia from the company’s first video game, Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning, to assorted office equipment and even model WW II airplanes from Schilling's personal collection.
“We have $75 million to make up,” quipped auctioneer Sal Corio just before the bidding began, referring to the loan amount Rhode Island guaranteed for the company to lure it from Massachusetts last year.
38 Studios collapsed earlier this year after defaulting on its loan payments, laying off about 400 employees in the midst of developing its next game, a massive multiplayer online game known as Project Copernicus. Now, dozens of creditors, including the state of Rhode Island, are looking to recoup losses.
Last week, an auction of 950 items at 38 Studios’ office in Timonium, Md., raised $180,000. The haul from bidding in Providence, which went into Tuesday evening, is expected to be much larger.
Joyce Bettencourt, a creative director from Rehoboth, was shopping for computer monitors and specialized animation equipment but couldn’t resist early in the auction when two replica swords that 38 Studio employees used for making sound effects came on the block.
“They are kind of neat in a collectible sense,” Bettencourt said of the pair, which she bought for $250. “I’m sort of a geek in that way.”
In its six-year history, 38 Studios amassed enough video game memorabilia to make collectors salivate. Giant spiked hammers, made of foam but decorated to seem to be out of Viking times, sold for $375 each. Other collectibles included game-promotion posters signed by Schilling and fantasy artwork.
Many of the bidders had a more intimate knowledge of the collection: They were former employees who came to get mementos from their time at the company.
“It’s very surreal to be here,” said Paul Siegel, a former 38 Studios engineer from Medway. “It’s like coming home after you’ve been in college for a couple of years.”
He said he showed up to reconnect with old colleagues and nab some of the games left behind in the company’s game room.
Office chairs, computers and monitors, cubicles, and desks made up the bulk of items on the block, attracting other business owners, including some local video game companies, looking to outfit new and expanding offices on the cheap.
Jamie Gotch, chief executive of Subatomic Games in Cambridge, prowled around the fourth floor of the 38 Studios building for furniture, supplies, or “anything we find that is a reasonable deal.”
Gotch said many bidders might be getting good deals, but they weren’t getting many steals. One of the biggest buys of the day, he said, came when a single bidder purchased 400 powerful computers for sophisticated graphics use for $800 each.
Rick Luddy, another former 38 Studios engineer, had his eye on an ice maker. It eventually sold for around $200, more than he was willing to pay. On Tuesday evening, Luddy was still holding out for some stools he remembered using when the company was located in Maynard.
“What’s weirdest is walking through the floors that are empty,” said Luddy, who has since started his own game company, Red Foe, out of his home in Shirley. “It’s like walking through an empty tomb.”Michael B. Farrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.