Sunday 15 November 2009 7:00 pm

Bernard Madoff’s belongings are sold for almost $1m to help Ponzi victims

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BERNARD Madoff’s possessions raised almost $1m (£599,000) when they went under the hammer to help victims of the disgraced fund manager’s $65bn Ponzi scheme.

Auctioneers raised twice the amount expected, as around 500  bidders crammed into Manhattan’s Sheraton Hotel to buy a piece of Wall Street history.

Top sellers included Madoff’s Mets baseball jacket, which went for $14,500, and his wife Ruth’s Victorian diamond earrings, which fetched $70,000 – more than 20 times their estimated value.

In total there were 200 items, including furs, fishing tackle, dog bowls, vases and Hermes handbags.

A wooden duck decoy valued at $53 to $60 sold for $4,750. Seven plastic Swatch watches, estimated at $100 to $150, went for $850.

The ring buoy from Mr Madoff’s yacht, “Bull” (listed at $140 to $160) sold for $7,500, while three embroidered shirts from the boat (estimated at $150 to $210) sold for $1,300.

But Madoff’s vintage 18-carat gold Rolex Monoblocco watch, sold for $65,000, below its estimated price of $75,000 to $85,000.

The sale brought in $942,650 – nearly twice the $500,000 estimate. Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina.