Bruce Whillans and Bryan Richardson of CB Richard' />

A marketing campaign is about to open to sell the Auckland Club's premises in the central city.

Bruce Whillans and Bryan Richardson of CB Richard Ellis are heading the drive to sell the club's base in the building at 34 Shortland St after a report emerged in December that it was struggling financially with an ageing membership.

President David McEwen said at the time that members had passed a resolution at a special general meeting last year to consider options for the club's future. One plan has been to discuss merging with the Northern Club in Princes St, near the university.

The Auckland Club is believed to have between 350 and 380 members and the Northern Club has about 1550.

The Auckland Club was founded in 1853 and has been favoured by bankers and financiers.

The Northern Club, founded in 1869, has been favoured by the legal and other professions.

But as members weigh up the merger option, the Auckland Club is troubled by another issue.

Manager Russell Hewage said yesterday that a historic item was taken from the club's entrance foyer before Christmas and had not been seen since.

The large brass shell case was used by members as a letterbox but a guest at a function had taken it. Mr Hewage said the situation was distressing and the case should be returned.

Sally Lindsay, of CB Richard Ellis, refused a Herald request for the information memorandum on the proposed sale.

She said no marketing would be launched this weekend, no campaign was planned, an agent involved was watching tennis in Australia and she could not assist with any inquiries about the property.

The club owns five levels in the 17-level building, holding its 1877sq m freehold property on a strata-title.

Level three of its premises has five studio hotel bedrooms and housekeeping areas.