Video: Madoff ring goes for $550K in auction

  1. Transcript of: Madoff ring goes for $550K in auction

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: While Bernard Madoff serves a 150-year prison term, some of his personal items were auctioned off today here in New York , including a 10 1/2 carat diamond ring that went for $550,000. Proceeds from the auction will go to the victims, but it's a drop in the bucket. Madoff 's Ponzi scheme bilked investors out of

Photos: Bernie Madoff auction

loading photos...
  1. Won't be needing these in prison. Suits that belonged to Bernard Madoff are displayed during a press preview at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Nov. 10 of the Madoff auction taking place Nov. 13 at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Slipper-y. These size 8-1/2, black velveteen bedroom slippers, embroidered in gold thread with Bernard Madoff's initials, will be sold at auction in NYC on Saturday, Nov. 13. (Department of Justice / U.S. Marshals Service via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Dining in style. A dining table and chairs are displayed during a press preview Nov. 10 of an auction of Madoff possessions. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A case of watches and jewelry on displayed during a press preview Nov. 10 of an auction of Madoff possessions. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. No prison stripes. Shirts which belonged to Bernard Madoff are shown during Wednesday's press preview. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Going, going ... An antique wooden desk, one of more than 400 pieces of personal property, jewelry and antiques that once belonged to Bernard Madoff and his wife. (Department of Justice / U.S. Marshals Service via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Ponzi bling. A 10.54-carat ladies emerald cut diamond engagement ring once owned by Bernard Madoff and his wife, Ruth. (Department of Justice / U.S. Marshals Service via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Items including a bed are displayed along with 400 other pieces of personal property, jewelry, and antiques from Bernard and Ruth Madoff, Nov. 10, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A black and white case. This Steinway and Sons Grand Piano, up for auction, once graced the home of fraudster Bernard Madoff and his wife. (Department Of Justice / U.S. Marshals Service via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Was Bernie Madoff channeling Imelda Marcos? Up for auction, 18 pairs of men's Belgian shoes, Mr. Casual style, size 9W, that the disgraced financier once owned. (Department of Justice / U.S. Marshals Service) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Funny business. This cartoon, up for auction in NYC Saturday, once belonged to fraudster Bernard Madoff. (Department of Justice / U.S. Marshals Service) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Personal items of Bernie Madoff, are displayed during a press preview Wednesday in New York City. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Bernie's bull. This minature bronze bull statue, once owned by convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff and his wife, is up for auction. (Department of Justice / U.S. Marshals Service) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Wondering what to get your loved one for Christmas? How about a pair of velvet slippers once owned by disgraced financier Bernie Madoff? Hundreds of items once belonging to Madoff (shown here in New York before his conviction) will be auctioned off Saturday, Nov. 13. Proceeds will go to victims of Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme. (Don Emmert / AFP - Getty Images file) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Image: Madoff's slippers
AP
A pair of black velveteen slippers with "BLM" embroidered in gold thread is among the thousands of belongings from Bernard Madoff's New York City penthouse on the auction block.
By
updated 11/13/2010 10:27:47 PM ET 2010-11-14T03:27:47

Anyone wanting to walk in the shoes of fallen financier Bernard Madoff was in luck Saturday: Thousands of belongings from his New York City penthouse, including his used shoes, went on the auction block.

An anonymous bidder paid the highest price of the auction — $550,000 — for a 10.5-carat diamond engagement ring that belonged to Madoff's wife, Ruth. The winning bid topped the $300,000 minimum pre-sale estimate.

Ruth Madoff's French diamond earrings fetched the next highest price. Valued at $100,000 to $137,500, they went for $135,000 to an undisclosed buyer.

The man who became a symbol of greed and deceit on Wall Street also had a lavish collection of watches. One of his vintage steel Rolex "Moon Phase" watches sold for $67,500, topping a $60,000 minimum estimate.

Image: Madoff's Rolex
AP
A stainless steel Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch with an Oyster Band, part of thousands of belongings from Bernard Madoff's New York City penthouse on the auction block in New York on Saturday.

The sale pulled in more than $2 million, U.S. marshals told Reuters.

The sale started Saturday morning at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, with an auctioneer from Texas-based Gaston & Sheehan rattling off lots at a tongue-twisting speed all day and into the evening.

Buyers responded at fever pitch.

They raised their hands to signal a bid — accompanied by bloodcurdling shouts from bid-spotters marking a winning price.

'Bull'
Their swaggering style — as if herding bulls instead of selling Madoff's artsy ones — seemed appropriate for an auction of the belongings of a Wall Street trader who cherished the winning bull in every form. He bought statues and paintings of them and even named his boats "Bull," "Sitting Bull" and "Little Bull."

A leather bull foot stool — including a tail that had broken off — sold for $3,300, against a pre-sale estimate of $250 to $360.

While many of the more than 400 lots included luxury items, the Madoffs' penthouse did have touches of culture.

    1. Hoffman withdrew $1,200 hours before death: sources

      Philip Seymour Hoffman withdrew a total of $1,200 from an ATM at a supermarket near his New York City apartment the night before he was found lifeless in his bathroom with a syringe still in his left arm, sources told NBC News.

    2. NYC mayor will skip St. Pat's parade over gay ban
    3. Indiana man back home 18 years after abduction
    4. 32 states in the path of another wild storm
    5. Judge vows quick ruling on Va. marriage ban

A 1917 Steinway grand piano from their living room went for $42,000 — six times the minimum estimate of $7,000. The buyer was an 81-year-old Long Island real estate executive.

"I've got loads of pianos, but this one has history — it'll make an interesting conversation piece," said John Rodger, an amateur pianist who will keep the Steinway in his home in East Islip.

An oil painting by the late American artist Frederick Carl Frieseke sold for $47,500, against a pre-sale estimate of $20,000 to $45,000.

The Manhattan sale is the last auction in New York of Madoff belongings. A third and final auction is to be held in Florida to sell off items from a Palm Beach home that went for more than $5.5 million last month.

Disgraced
Madoff was arrested two years ago and quickly admitted his scheme. Investigators said he used billions of dollars in cash from new investors to pay old ones, cheating charities, celebrities and institutional investors.

U.S. marshals seized everything in the Madoffs' Manhattan apartment and Long Island beach house: worn socks, new monogrammed boxer shorts, Italian velveteen slippers bearing the initials "BLM" in gold embroidery. All of it was being sold — with morbid fascination for mundane articles from the couple's daily life that also were on the block, from bed linens, clothing, cookware and luggage to intimate items like cuticle scissors and bottles of shampoo.

Valued at $75 to $110, the lot with the slippers also included Ruth Madoff's monogrammed shirt. A young man paid $6,000 for all of it, saying he'll never be able to wear the slippers because his shoe size is 13; Madoff wore a size 8. He declined to give his name.

The boxers came with assorted menswear and went for $650, besting a pre-sale estimate of $380 to $540.

Besides bulls and fine watches, Madoff loved shoes. He owned about 250 pairs, many never worn — made in Italy, France, Belgium and England.

Ten pairs of Madoff's used designer shoes sold for $900, against a minimum of $250.

The disgraced 72-year-old convict is behind bars for life in a North Carolina prison, and his wife was ordered to leave their homes.

Despite their vast wealth, the Madoffs didn't seem to make much room for house guests.

The auction included their early 19th-century bed with fabric hangings and "intense sun fading," at a pre-auction estimate of $8,000 to $11,400.

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. OWN via Getty Images
      From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

"Just $500?" the incredulous auctioneer, Bob Sheehan, said of the first bid, adding, "This was the only bed in the whole house, I'm not kidding! $500? My God, it's not a pullout."

It sold for $2,250.

Sheehan conducted the auction for the U.S. Marshals Service. Proceeds will go to more than 3,000 clients Madoff swindled in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

A New York auction last year of Madoff's property raised $1 million. The Manhattan penthouse went for $8 million, and his yacht and boats also were sold.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Vote: Vote: Which Madoff items would you like to own?

Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 4.66%
$30K home equity loan FICO 4.97%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.34%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 11.22%
11.09%
Cash Back Cards 16.38%
16.42%
Rewards Cards 16.05%
16.04%
Source: Bankrate.com