NEW YORK — They're the spoils of a feast that's over forever: Bernard Madoff's stuff on a government auction block.
Almost 200 items seized from the fallen financier's homes are being sold today in Manhattan, ranging from dishes, pens and stationery to decoy ducks and furs.
There's even a partly used pad of adhesive notes, personalized with "Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities" — a reminder that Madoff's twisted financial activities were interrupted in action.
The goods to be auctioned were shown Friday at a preview at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers.
Madoff's personal effects were guarded by the U.S. marshals who seized his properties — a penthouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side and houses in Montauk, N.Y., and Palm Beach, Fla.
Scanning the items, auction observer Lark Mason said that despite Madoff's riches, he owned things "that you'd find at a fancy suburban garage sale" — though perhaps with a higher price tag.
Mason, who once worked for Sotheby's, said the artworks collected by Madoff and his wife, Ruth, were mostly reproductions and posters.
Next week, Madoff's yachts will hit the block, sold in Florida by an auctioneer billing itself as "The World's Largest Boat and Yacht Liquidation Company."
When he was sentenced in June, the punishment included the forfeiture of almost all of his wealth.
Even if the goods displayed Friday weren't grand enough, the path leading to them was.
Red velvet ropes cordoned off the staircase to the hotel's grand ballroom, where the Madoff belongings shared space under a crystal chandelier with about 400 lots of other people's belongings also seized by the government.
Texas-based auctioneer Gaston & Sheehan is running the Manhattan sale for the Marshals Service, hoping to raise at least a half-million dollars to be divided among Madoff's victims. That's only a small dent in the tens of billions his Ponzi scheme cost them, wiping out many financially.