Jason Farago · Bernie Madoff's Shoes

Tomorrow morning, at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Midtown Manhattan (and online at, the US Marshals are selling off the assets of Bernie and Ruth Madoff. There's a preview today (until 7 p.m.) at a warehouse in theBrooklyn Navy Yard; some items are for ‘visual inspection’ only, but the feds will let you try on the jewellery. Madoff seems to have liked gold Patek Philippe watches, though I preferred a Rolexwith a moonphase and a perpetual calendar in less gaudy stainless steel (lot 182, est.$60-70,000). The clothes wouldn’t fit me, though there are handsome ties fromCharvet, and if you wear a size 8½ shoe you should pounce on lot 331: 16 pairs of John Lobb loafers with alow estimate of $1500, the price of a single new pair. There are lots of shoes. I counted more than 200 men’s pairs, including dozens unworn, to say nothing of slippers, running shoes and boots.

The Madoffs also had a library that is being sold en bloc, although a few books with inscriptionsor the Madoffs’ names on the flyleaves have been singled out. Among thebiographies and self-help books (Eat More Weigh Less) are many books on golf and a large collection of fiction. There are legal thrillers and mysteries (John Grisham, Sue Grafton, NelsonDemille) but also Alice Munro, PaulAuster and quite a bit of Philip Roth: Goodbye, Columbus, The Professor of Desire,American Pastoral and The Dying Animal, all in hardback. Perhaps Madoff saw something of himself in David Kepesh, the philandering son-of-a-bitch who features in two of thosenovels. One mistress called Madoff 'that monster' and said he was 'not well-endowed'– which may not be true, but would perhaps explain 200 pairs of size 8½ shoes.


  • 19 November 2010 at 9:37pm
    dragbert says:
    As someone who wears the same size shoes as Bernie Madoff I'd like to say that for all his other faults, he is not small, but statistically average in size. I don't see why it's necessary to put perfectly averagely proportioned people off buying good quality shoes especially as attracting buyers would benefit Madoff's admittedly already well-heeled creditors

    • 19 November 2010 at 11:39pm
      A.J.P. Crown says: @ dragbert
      Go ahead! If you want 16 pairs of the world's most boring, old-farty shoes that will make you look like you work for a bank, who are we to stop you?

    • 19 November 2010 at 11:51pm
      A.J.P. Crown says: @ A.J.P. Crown
      Why don't you buy a "good quality" watch while you're at it? I'm sure they keep much more accurate time. Go on, it's only money!

  • 23 November 2010 at 4:53am
    Saffy says:
    UK 8 1/2 may be average for a man, I don't know, but a US 8 1/2 is smaller - something like 7 1/2 UK size, maybe less. I'm assuming that Madoff is an 8 1/2 in US shoe sizes.

    Not sure if that's me being pedantic or helpful, though.