Madoff auction raises $900G for his victims

A Rolex watch is among the property auctioned

A Rolex watch is among the property auctioned Nov. 14 in Manhattan at a U.S. Marshals Service sale of personal property seized from Bernard and Ruth Madoff. The property included jewelry, furs, artwork and other items forfeited in connection with the criminal prosecution of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. (Nov. 13, 2009) (Credit: Getty Images)

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Bernard L. Madoff's Rolex "prisoner watch" and his Mets jacket were among 170 items sold Saturday night in an auction that raised more than $900,000 for victims of his multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

About 2,000 dealers and collectors placed bids online and in the ballroom of the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, for keepsakes, jewelry and clothing owned by Madoff and his wife, Ruth.

Many of the lots blew past high estimates set by Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers, the Pflugerville, Texas, company that handled the sale for the U.S. Marshals Service.

Ruth Madoff's 14-carat diamond earrings sold for $70,000. The blue satin Mets jacket, with "Madoff" stitched on the back went for $14,500.

"What size is it?" screamed Miami dealer Alan Richardson, breaking the tension in the salesroom as he was outbid.

Madoff's 18-carat gold "prisoner watch" -- one of about 50 watches on the block -- sold for $65,000. Its name derives from similar steel ones offered to prisoners of war in Germany during World War II.

The pre-Victorian earrings, which had a high estimate of $21,400, were bought by a man with a Russian accent sitting in the back of the ballroom. Wearing a black pullover and baseball cap, he identified himself as a dealer and otherwise declined to comment.

 Sherwin Robin, 60, a lawyer from Savannah, Ga., was in town for a legal conference and bid $1,500 for a ladies' 14-carat charm bracelet. It sold for $3,000, more than the high presale estimate of $1,000.

The goods were seized from Madoff's Manhattan penthouse and home in Montauk by the Marshals Service. The total just exceeded $900,000, above the presale high estimate of  $470,000 to $586,000, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The Marshals Service declined to say how much the auction raised. Madoff, 71, is serving a 150-year sentence after pleading guilty to using money from new clients to pay off old ones. Prosecutors said he told investors they had as much as $65 billion with New York-based Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities Llc.

Also on the block were 11 leather Hermes handbags owned by Ruth Madoff, 68, as well as bags by Chanel, Prada, Jil Sander, Judith Leiber, Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton.

One Lady Hermes brown suede handbag, plus two other purses, sold for $1,900, compared with a $210 high estimate.

There were also a pair of Bull and Bear-motif Tiffany & Co. cuff links and a Tiffany silver key ring monogrammed "BLM."

The bric-a-brac included hotel-branded ash trays -- three from the Hotel Plaza Athenee in Manhattan, two from the Eden Roc in the south of France and one from Hotel Cipriani in Venice.

The Madoffs' Christofle flatware, engraved "RMB" was up for grabs, as was stationery imprinted with "Bernard L. Madoff Securities."

Madoff's wallet, a black leather Mont Blanc embossed with "BM," sold for $2,200. Three boogie boards, with "Madoff" written in magic marker on one, and assorted fishing gear went for $1,000.

On Nov. 17, the Marshals Service is auctioning three boats Madoff owned in Fort Lauderdale. Also on the block is a luxury sport-fishing yacht owned by Frank DiPascali, who pleaded guilty to aiding Madoff in the Ponzi scheme.

The 3½-hour sale was packed with media, with some 150 journalists covering the auction preview on Friday.

"I'd have to rob a bank to get this much press," music entrepreneur Norman Chesky said, trailed by reporters, as he rolled out a tree-stump table he bought for $500.

>PHOTOS: Click here to see photos of Madoff's personal items up for auction

>>>Click here for complete coverage of Madoff case --  from arrest to auction.

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