Lehman Brothers was 158 years old when it declared bankruptcy, and the prestigious firm's collapse was one that shocked everyone inside the industry and out. The company was left with no other choice but to declare bankruptcy when it couldn't find a buyer and the government refused to bail it out. The New York Times called the fateful event one of the most dramatic days in Wall Street history.
The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy filing was the biggest in history, so it makes sense that the clearing of the company's Manhattan headquarters was made into quite a spectacle. Employees filed out with their packed boxes while police barricaded the area, and some asked what famous person was in the area. A cop told the crowd, "Go home. There is no one famous coming out. You are looking at a whole bunch of people who just lost their jobs."
Former Lehman employees were quick to post company memorabilia on eBay, and many items sold for a premium. Buyers figured owning a piece of Lehman was the same as owning a piece of history, and the historic collapse of the well-respected bank earns it a place as one of the biggest news stories of 2008.