Madoff slippers sold at auction to aid victims
From monogrammed black velveteen slippers through to a 1917 Steinway piano, a clutch of the ill-gotten gains of fallen financier Bernard Madoff and his wife Ruth were auctioned off yesterday to benefit his victims.
For the clients who lost their shirts investing with the biggest fraudster in history, it was probably little consolation that the contents of the couple's wardrobes were among the thousands of items sold at a New York hotel.
Madoff, 72, is serving a 150-year sentence in a federal prison in North Carolina for operating a so-called Ponzi fraudulent investment scheme that robbed customers of between €13bn and €47.5bn.
US federal marshals who seized property from his homes in Manhattan, Long Island and Palm Beach held the auction for a fund for his victims.
The Steinway went for €31,000 -- six times the minimum estimate of €5,000. Three hours into the New York auction, the highest bid was for an oil painting by the late US artist Frederick Carl Frieseke that sold for €36,000. A stainless-steel Rolex watch with an oyster band sold for €29,000, against an estimate of €45,000 to €50,000.
Mrs Madoff's jewellery collection (including a 10.5-carat diamond and platinum engagement ring which went for €400,000) was set to be the priciest section of the sale.
Other lots up for grabs included a 19th century four-poster bed (sold for €1,650) and Madoff's boxer shorts.
For bidders with a sense of irony, there was a carriage clock presented by the National Securities Clearing Corporation to its former chairman "in recognition of his distinguished services to the financial industry". A previous Madoff auction had raised more than €730,000.