A 10.5-carat diamond ring (shown here) that belonged to Bernard L. Madoff and his wife, Ruth, sold for $550,000 this week in a New York auction as collectors and dealers competed for mementos owned by the formerly high-living confidence man.
ARTKABINETT social network reported last week on such mundane Madoff momentos as shoes and jackets which were previously auctioned. Today we identify bit of the sublime....
The emerald-cut stone was estimated to go for as much as $350,000. The staccato-tongued auctioneer Bob Sheehan, of closely held Gaston & Sheehan, said the ring "supposedly" was Ruth's engagement ring. The winning bidder, a man with salt-and- pepper hair, wearing chinos and a tweed jacket, declined to identify himself.
Earlier, Madoffís Steinway & Sons grand piano sold for $42,000.
"It's got a little bit of history to it, and it's hysterical, "real estate developer John Rodger of East Islip on Long Island told a scrum of a couple dozen reporters after placing the winning bid. "It makes it a conversation piece."
The 6-foot-2-inch piano had a high presale estimate of $16,000. Rodger, who said he owns eight other pianos, figured this piano, circa 1917, would have been valued at $22,000 without the Madoff provenance.
The all-day, almost 500-lot sale has attracted hundreds to a frigid ballroom at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, as well as others online.
The items were from Madoff's East Side Manhattan apartment and Montauk, Long Island, beach house.
The sale was overseen by the U.S. Marshals Service to repay, in part, victims of Madoffís Ponzi scheme. All items are being sold without commissions.
Empty photo albums and picture frames went for $1,000. A leather footstool depicting a bull went for $3,300, almost 10 times its presale high estimate of $360.
Here is the link to the auction catalog:
As of Sept. 30, approximately $1.5 billion has been recovered for Madoff's investors, the trustee overseeing Madoff's bankruptcy, Irving Picard, said in a report.
When he was arrested in December 2008, Madoff's account statements reflected 4,900 accounts with $65 billion in nonexistent investments, according to Picard.
Investors lost about $20 billion in principal.