Page last updated at 04:51 GMT, Sunday, 15 November 2009

Bernie Madoff auction raises $1m

A Bernard Madoff New York Mets baseball jacket displayed in New York, 13 November
The Mets jacket sold for $14,500 to an online bidder

An auction of items belonging to disgraced Wall Street financier Bernie Madoff has raised nearly $1m (£600,000) - twice as much as auctioneers hoped.

Some items, including his Mets baseball jacket and his wife's diamond earrings, fetched over 20 times their estimated value at the auction in New York.

The proceeds will go to the fraudster's many victims, but it represents a mere fraction of estimated $21bn he stole.

Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence for a multi-billion dollar fraud.

Jewellery dealers, souvenir hunters, collectors and the curious swooped on the Manhattan ballroom where the auction took place on Saturday, eager to snap up a piece of history, the BBC's Vanessa Heaney reports.

Beranrd Madoff at court

Bernie Madoff's personalised New York Met's baseball jacket sold for more than $14,000 - 20 times more than its estimated value.

Two pairs of his wife Ruth's Victorian diamond earrings went for $70,000 each - much more than their expected price.

But there was one big surprise, our correspondent says. Madoff's Rolex watch - appropriately named the "prisoner" model - was expected to fetch nearly $90,000. It only went for $65,000.

The less glitzy Swatch watches - seven in all - expected to go for just $100 - went for $850 instead.

In all - about 200 items were sold, from furs and fishing tackle to dog bowls, vases and Hermes handbags.

The sale brought in $942,650 - nearly twice the $500,000 initial estimate.

These were just some of the possessions he collected during his career as one of America's biggest fraudsters of all time.

More of Madoff's ill-gotten gains will be offered at other sales, according to the US Marshals' asset forfeiture division.

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