Underpants and a bare bottom: sales of Bernie Madoff's belongings get personal



2015-06-26 12:25:34

Underpants and a bare bottom: sales of Bernie Madoff's belongings get personal

A selection of art, golf clubs and even the fraudster's boxer shorts went under the hammer

It's sometimes said that ruthless financial dealers will have the shirt off your back. Those who lost money in swindler Bernie Madoff's gigantic Ponzi scheme have seen their revenge go one stage further, as his underwear has been sold at auction (on June 3).

Some of the auction's highlights

Following on swiftly from the sale of his wine cellar which cut all the way back from his luxury items like fine Chateau Mouton vintages to more mundane everyday spirits such as Smirnoff vodka, the sale also saw antique golf clubs and some art go under the hammer.

Previously Madoff's slippers had sold for $6,000 and his personalised New York Mets jacketfor $14,500 (20 times the estimate).

On this occasion, the 14 pairs of boxer shorts, confiscated from the Wall Street fraudster's Palm Beach mansion sold for $200. Fittingly, the top lot was a depiction of a bare backside by the Depression-era photographer Edward Weston which achieved $4,600.

In case anyone is wondering, the bottom in question is not thought to have been that of a newly stripped Bernie Madoff (though that might have made money as well).

Underwear is not frequently sold at memorabilia auctions - possibly because most stars are unlikely to have been remembered or pictured as wearing it, which also reduces its potential value as an alternative investment. There are exceptions however.

We sold a bra which had belonged to Marilyn Monroe last year for 9,500 ($15,675) - a little more than the fraudster's undergarments. Of course Monroe remains an internationally recognised sex symbol. Madoff is not.

As a whole the auction makes an interesting comparison with the sale of the Unabomber's belongings, which also concluded last week.

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