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10.5 Carat Engagement Ring is Top Seller at Madoff Auction

November 16th, 2010

This past Saturday, hundreds of collectors gathered in New York for a unique opportunity: the chance to bid on disgraced financier’s personal belongings. Ruth Madoff’s engagement ring was only one of hundreds of items on the auction block. Everything from the Ponzi schemer’s Steinway piano to his socks was put up for auction to help repay only a fraction of the billions Madoff swindled from his victims.

The auction competition was fierce, as collectors competed to own a piece of economic history. One especially hot item—Madoff’s monogrammed bedroom slippers, which sold for $6,000. One man outbid the competition on a box of assorted menswear including socks and monogrammed boxers; he said he planned to give the socks out as novelty Christmas gifts.

Bernie Madoff, who pleaded guilty to a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme and is currently serving a 150-year sentence, was not allowed to keep even the most sentimental items, like photo albums and frames, which were emptied and put on the auction block.

A Rolex watch that Madoff had worn often sold for $67,500, while his wife’s engagement ring was sold to the highest bidder for $550,000. The platinum solitaire engagement rings is set with a 10.5 carat emerald-cut diamond. The anonymous buyer did not comment on whether he planned to keep it or use it for a proposal. He told the New York Post, “This is all going to play out with the subtlety of a Dickens novel. This is just going to take time.”

This is the second auction of Madoff’s personal effects, bringing the total funds raised to $3 million. A sizable sum, to be sure, but nowhere near the estimated $18 billion Madoff swindled from his investors.

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