Bernie Madoff's Boxers Sell for $200 at Auction
An auction of Bernie Madoff's household goods, ranging from paintings to prescription eyeglasses, brought in about $400,000. Among the items were 14 pairs of boxers that sold for $200. Which leaves one haunting question: Would his briefs have gone for even more?
As reported by the Miami Herald
, other items auctioned off by the U.S. Marshals Service included his prescription eyeglasses, Rolex and a small bull sculpture that was valued at $210 and purchased for about $5,000 (presumably by someone who had cooked up a bull market/Ponzi scheme joke they've been dying to use).
As the Herald reporter works through his story, certain motivations become clear: some bidders wanted Madoff's items because they actually wanted the items, but most bidders wanted them because they thought Madoff would be a great historic figure of the 21st century, or because they just have more money than is probably healthy.
“It's ego, just ego, nothing more than my ego,” explained Miami estate-buyer Alan Richardson after his $5,000 bid ended a long, barking duel for a pair of overstuffed leather chairs that were appraised at $1,200. “I'm notorious throughout the industry — when I want something, I get it. I always have the last bid.”
Most of the proceeds will go towards restitution for Madoff's financial victims—though the revenue won't make much of a dent in the billions he owed. But at least the auction has given us cause to invent a new pop-culture term: ponziphernailia (pahwn-zee-FUR-nayle-ee-uh): goods confiscated by the government through the conviction of a Ponzi schemer and sold at prices far above their actual worth, a testament to the argument that there's no such thing as bad publicity.
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