Madoff Auction

November 14, 2010 by staff 

Madoff Auction, (AFP) – Imprisoned Wall Street conman Bernard Madoff’s luxury watches, piano and other ill-gotten gains sold for high prices at auction Saturday, along with his more mundane possessions including socks.

A Steinway grand piano went for 42,000 dollars in the New York auction of goods seized by the US Marshall’s Service after Madoff’s life imprisonment last year.

The former money man’s craze for wrist watches was apparently shared at the auction, where proceeds will go toward compensating victims of the decades-long pyramid, or Ponzi fraud.

A Rolex moonphase watch sold for 67,500 dollars, while a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona fetched 40,000 dollars and two vintage Patek Philippe watches went for 56,000 and 37,500 dollars.

Other items among the mountain of luxury goods impounded from Madoff’s Manhattan and Long Island homes — which have already been auctioned off, along with boats and other Wall Street trophies — were jewels, furniture and artwork.

A Tiffany mantle clock sold for 9,250 dollars and a Tabriz rug for 30,000 dollars. A Tuscan landscape by the 19th century American artist Henry Twachtman sold for 53,000 dollars, while an oil painting by Frederick Carl Frieseke, another American impressionist, sold for 47,500 dollars.

With the sale still unfolding at the Sheraton New York and online at, bids for a pair of diamond earrings presumably once belonging to Madoff’s wife Ruth had already hit 120,000 dollars.

Unlike the last auction of the Madoffs’ lavish collections, this sale stood out for items proving that billionaires and record-breaking crooks are also just like ordinary folk.

Madoff’s shoes, socks, underpants and monogrammed black velveteen slippers were among the more curious lots listed on sale.

Bed sheets, make-up brushes, a vacuum cleaner, Rod Stewart CDs, cotton napkins, cookbooks, a flat screen TV, and Jewish religious items like Hanukkah candles were all among the humdrum lots looking for new homes.

One curious insight into Madoff’s money obsession was the fraudster’s own collection of pre-euro banknotes from European countries. The francs, marks, drachma and other defunct currencies were estimated to sell at 490 to 570 dollars.

Another lot included a range of trays and serving dishes from London’s Piccadilly Hotel and other establishments, though it was unclear how they came to be in Madoff’s possession.

Madoff ran a complex pyramid or Ponzi scheme for years in which he used new investors’ capital to pay fake profits to existing investors. He pleaded guilty last year after the scheme imploded and was sentenced to 150 years.

The 72-year-old, who rose from a humble start as a lifeguard in New York to become one of Wall Street’s most trusted and powerful money managers, is incarcerated in North Carolina.

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