$550,000 for fraudster Madoff's diamond ring, while his slippers walk to $6,000

Collectors and investors have proven to be consistently fascinated by the belongings of grand-scale fraudster Bernie Madoff, as those administering his belongings continue to try to make a dent in the multi-billion dollar black hole his Ponzi scheme left behind.

Previously, estimate-busting results have been achieved for this personalised New York Metz jacket which sold for $14,500, his 18K gold Rolex Monoblocco 'Prisoner' watch (nicknamed as it was of a similar design to ones sold to British PoWs in WWII) which sold for $65,000.

Even a set of Ruth Madoff's 14ct diamonds earrings sold for $70,000 in the previous auction - an appropriately sinister air being lent by the anonymous Russian buyer dressed in black - at more than treble their estimate of around $21,000.

In this latest auction once more it was a personalised item of Madoff's which drew the headlines, but one given to his wife which raised the bids.

Madoff's black velveteen slippers, which look like they might have been quite comfortable for the convict to pad around his cell in, sold at the equally comfortable price of $6,000. Ruth Madoff's diamond engagement ring however sold for $550,000.

As with the Lehmann brother's art sales, it's always difficult to separate the intrinsic value from that of the items as memorabilia, but what is certainly true that notoriety increases interest in collectibles, and Madoff continues to fascinate.

Just in the past few months, claims and counter-claims about his declining health have kept the newspapers busy, and that probably helped to push the total value of the auction up to $2m, doubly the previous total of $1m, which was itself far in advance of any expectations - though we predicted that the estimates were a little too low.


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