SWINDLER’S WINES GO FOR BIG BUCKS
When it comes to auctioning off the belongings of notorious criminals, it’s safe to assume the public will pay top dollar for a piece of history. Bernie Madoff was a low-class thief but he had an impressive wine collection and bidders were all too eager snap up lots. Madoff’s eclectic wine and spirits fetched $41,53O at an online auction held in May. All 59 lots, ranging from fine Bordeaux to vodka nips, found buyers, with 54 selling above the highest estimated pre-auction price. The winning bids exceeded the roughly $15,OOO to $21,OOO the auction, run by Morrell & Co Fine Wine Auctions in New York, had been expected to raise. “Proceeds from this auction are going towards compensating Madoff’s victims, so we couldn’t be happier with the results,” said auction director Kimberly Janis. As expected, the top lot was a case of 1996 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild which went for $68OO. It had been expected to go for $32OO to $38OO. A case of Veuve Clicquot, yellow label brut sold for $15OO, well-above its $24O to $35O pre-auction estimate and roughly triple what it might cost at retail. Even random items, such as a lot of 2-ounce bottles of Bombay Dry Gin, Grand Marnier and Smirnoff Vodka commanded a $3OO winning bid, well above the expected $1O to $2O. Madoff’s wines were seized by the US Marshals Service, which often auctions seized property to benefit crime victims. An auction last November of Madoff’s furniture, monogrammed clothing and other personal effects raised about $2 million.