Nov. 11, 2010 — -- From a $300,000 diamond engagement ring to a Steinway grand piano to a pair of light blue boxer shorts, everything remaining in Bernie Madoff's former Manhattan and Long Island residences is up for auction this Saturday.
Proceeds from the auction, which begins at 10 a.m. at Manhattan's Sheraton Hotel and Towers, will go to the victims of Madoff's monumental Ponzi scheme, according to the U.S. Marshals Service, which has been handling the sale of the spoils of Madoff's criminal enterprise.
"These pieces are the last of what once occupied the homes and lives of Bernard and Ruth's residences in New York City and Montauk, New York," said Joseph R. Guccione, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of New York.
The auction includes the desk that authorities believe Madoff used to run his multi-billion dollar scam. The nine-drawer desk, made of yew wood, was located in the Manhattan penthouse apartment where authorities say Madoff most likely ran his scheme, safely away from prying eyes in his nearby office.
Madoff's ill-gotten gains were spent on an opulent lifestyle. Madoff collected Rolex and Patek Philippe watches and had an Imelda Marcos-like obsession with shoes. "He just bought every kind of shoe in that style that the company made. And most of them are brand new -- never used," said one auctioneer." He also collected bulls, large and small sculptures in leather and wood.
Ruth Madoff's Diamond Engagement Ring
His wife Ruth's 10-plus carat emerald cut diamond engagement ring is expected to fetch at least $300,000. The auction includes Persian rugs, Chanel blazers and Hermes ties, but also less showy items like red colanders, pineapple-shaped pitchers and high school reunion t-shirts for sale. Lot number 380, a collection of designer boxer shorts, five pairs of socks (including one used pair) and assorted items has an estimated worth of about $1000.
"It's really a peak behind the curtains of what their life really was," said Jennifer Crane of the U.S.Marshals Asset Forfeiture division.
One of the most unusual items is the branding iron with the initials "BLM," designed for branding steaks. Madoff loved to monogram his possessions – bidders at the auction can choose from monogrammed custom-fitted shirts, luggage and even a pair of size 8 ? black velveteen slippers with red quilt lining.
Curiously, the Steinway grand piano has a hidden tape cassette player underneath -- perhaps so the host could pretend to play?
Madoff is currently serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina.