A fraudster with excellent taste... The collections of Bernie Madoff

Bernard L Madoff is notorious around the world as a disgraced stockbroker and investments advisor who was jailed for what has been described as "the largest Ponzi scheme in history". (A Ponzi scheme being an organisation which pays investors 'returns' out of their own money, or money from new investors rather than from new money generated legitimately.)

Madoff's scheme fell apart as a result of his two sons informing the authorities about the deception, quoting their father as describing it as "one big lie". On June 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, and is currently serving his term in the Butner Federal Correctional Institution.

The actual losses to investors as a result of the scheme run into tens of billions of dollars and will never be fully recovered. However, Madoff's assets from his personal belongings as well as his company have been auctioned off in order to make a small dent in the massive debt, and this has presented some interesting collectibles.

Madoff was a collector of watches, sports memorabilia and fine wine amongst other things. Seventeen Rolexes were confiscated from his estate, including an Oyster chronograph. He also owned timepieces by Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Franck Muller, Blancpain and seven from Cartier.

Bernie Madoff's black slippers ($6,000)
Bernie Madoff's black slippers ($6,000)

He owned several baseball jerseys and an impressive hockey card collection. His cellar included six bottles of 1990 Chateau Beychevelle, one bottle of 1964 Chateau Cheval Blanc, six bottles of 1997 Antinori Tignanello, and a whole case of 1996 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild.

His wife's handbag collection included pieces from Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Jil Sander, Judith Leiber, Prada and Louis Vuitton. These also went under the hammer.

The memorabilia effect generated by Madoff's ownership increased the value of the items at auction however.

Most recently, his cellarbrought $41,500 at Morrell & Company's auction, and whilst that of course included items such as the case of 1996 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, items such as a lot consisting of Bombay gin, Grand Marnier liqueur and Smirnoff vodka, which was expected to sell for no more than $20, sold for $300.

Previously Madoff's slippers had sold for $6,000 and his personalised New York Mets jacket for $14,500 (20 times the estimate). His diamond engagement ring even sold for a stunning $550,000.


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