Thousands of items seized by the U.S. Marshals Office, once belonging to financier Bernard and Ruth Madoff, went up for sale on the auction block Nov. 13.
Items seized in Madoff's Manhattan apartment and Long Island beach house, and sold at auction by Gaston & Sheehan Auction House in New York, was furniture, jewelery, clothing, bed linens, cookware, and hundreds of other personal items too numerous to mention.
Selling to an anonymous bidder for $550,000 was a 10.5-carat diamond engagement ring that once belonged to Madoff's wife, Ruth. The winning bid topped the $300,000 estimate.
Selling for $900 was 10 pairs out of 250 pairs of Madoff's designer shoes, many never worn, made exclusively in Italy, France, Belgium and England.
Selling for $1,700 was 11 pairs of Madoff's monogrammed boxer shorts, along with dozens of pairs of used socks, including velveteen slippers bearing the initials B.L.M. in gold embroidery, estimated to bring $900 to $1,300.
Despite the Madoff's vast wealth, the Madoff's didn't seem to make room for houseguests. From the list of items I received from the auction house, to write this article, showed the three-bedroom Manhattan apartment only contained one bed described as early 19th century with sun faded fabric hanging from it, that sold for $2,250.
The sale grossed more than $2 million, far above the goal of $1.2 million. The Manhattan penthouse earlier went for $8 million, and Madoff's yacht and several boats were also sold. Proceeds from the auction will go to more than 3,000 clients swindled in a multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme, using billions in dollars in cash from new investors to pay old ones, cheating charities, celebrities, and institutional investors.
The disgraced 72-year-old Madoff is today behind bars for life in a North Carolina prison. His wife, Ruth, was not charged in the scheme. She was allowed to keep $2.5 million in cash and surrender all her personal property, including several homes they both owned.
Today, Ruth Madoff is said to live in Florida close to relatives. She has been shunned by many of her former friends. It's been reported her two sons will not even speak to her to this day.
Larry Koon is the author of several price guide books on antiques and collectibles. His column appears every Monday on Life. Send letters to Treasure in the Attic, c/o The Marietta Times, 700 Channel Lane, Marietta 45750; or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. When writing, send a complete description of the item, along with size, color, any markings on the item along with condition the item is in, and how the item was obtained, and any other information. If possible, send a photograph. Letters will be answered through this column.