The U.S. Marshals Service has announced it will be holding a large auction of the remaining belongings of Bernie Madoff, on account of he will not be needing any of this stuff for the next 150 years or so. The auction will be on Saturday in New York, with a Web simulcast for those who want to bid online.
The proceeds of these auctions (two earlier auctions brought in $1 million each) go to Madoff's many victims. While this is only a drop in the bucket compared to what Madoff stole ($5.7 billion in claims have been filed), every little bit helps.
As a public service, I have read all 41 pages of the auction catalog to pick out some of the dumbest and least necessary things Madoff owned, so that you too can own one, even if only for the purpose of setting it on fire and sending him a picture of it burning.
- Lot No. 56: a pair of "Chinese Foo Dog Altar Sticks." Of course. As soon as somebody makes their first billion, they have to run out and buy the foo dog altar sticks.
- 71: a crystal award, engraved: "Hofstra University, Award for Alumni Achievement, Bernard L. Madoff, Class of '60." Good work, Hofstra.
- 80: the red loveseat on which Bernie and Satan used to sit and gaze into each other's eyes.
- 138: an oil painting of stupidly attired golfers.
- 139: one bronze armadillo.
- 143: a two-hundred-year-old magazine rack.
- 152: one Boy Scouts "Be Prepared" medal, for becoming an Eagle Scout.
- 172-183: twelve very expensive watches.
- 186: a pair of shark-tooth cufflinks. You know what? Anybody who has a pair of shark-tooth cufflinks is probably a real dick.
- 191-93: more fancy watches. Need one for each time zone?
- 231: two 56-bottle wine chillers.
- 245: 120 assorted postage stamps.
- 272: a defibrillator. The same lot contains a DVD player with "musical light show," hopefully to be used along with the defibrillator.
- 273: Assorted grooming items including hair brushes. Disgusting, but maybe they can get some of his DNA from these and put a bunch of Madoff clones to work paying everybody back.
- 280: four Armani leather jackets.
- 282: seven assorted leather and suede jackets.
- 285: a further nine assorted leather and suede jackets.
- 287-89: Assorted belts. Sixty-seven of them. The man owned 67 belts.
- 324-329: Shoes. Madoff preferred a brand called "Mr. Casual Belgium," a preference that one can infer from the fact that he owned 88 PAIRS OF MR. CASUAL BELGIUM SHOES.
- 330-38: ANOTHER ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIX PAIRS OF SHOES, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.
- 371: two baseball caps, each with Ruth Madoff's name written inside of it because God forbid she should lose one.
- 373: one tray, engraved: "Bernard L. Madoff, Member, Board of Governors, National Association of Securities Dealers." Good work, NASD.
- 448: assorted toys and games, including Monopoly and Sorry.
- 474-75: EVEN MORE SHOES, INCLUDING, SERIOUSLY, TEN PAIRS OF ORANGE LEATHER SHOES.
Then there's Lot 41, which is -- again, no kidding -- Bernie Madoff's crystal ball.
Another good deed you could do, if you already have a bronze armadillo, would be to buy a copy of "The Club No One Wanted to Join," a book that tells the stories of 29 victims of the Madoff scam. The stories are sad but at least some of the writers have managed to keep a sense of humor, like the one who wrote Madoff a letter and reminded him that he only had 47,361 days left to serve. Amazingly, some have forgiven him, although they may not know that he had a pair of shoes for every day of the year. You can buy it at the link above or get the Kindle version here.
Zero percent of the proceeds will be used to buy me a pair of orange leather shoes.