Bernie Madoff Memorabilia Buyers Guide

With economic problems in the news it’s no surprise that one of the hot sellers on eBay this week are collectibles related to disgraced investor Bernie Madoff. Some people are selling off company swag they received as employees or investors, hoping to make back a little bit of cash they lost in this huge Ponzi scheme. Other are opportunists looking for a quick buck. As a memorabilia collector, what should you look for and what should you avoid?

Guide Continued Below…

Naturally, you should look for official Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities items. There are people out there trying to cash in by creating unofficial or fake items. For example, it wouldn’t be too difficult to print up some official looking stationary or stickers. As with any other collectible item, make sure that the seller is reputable and can back up the origin of the item in question. Be wary of skimpy listing with little information or sellers who don’t answer emails or are vague about the item.

Madoff’s investment firm was pretty generous with the trinkets they gave out to investors and employees so there are a wide variety of items available. I guess that’s where some of the $50 Billion went to. What are some items you should consider as long term collectibles and which should you avoid?

I’d recommend avoiding generic Madoff T-Shirts so far as collectible value goes. There are some funny ones that people created about the Ponzi scheme but they are unlikely to hold value. If you do go for an official Madoff t-shirt or other clothing item, look for one that has a specific date and event on it, like a company meeting, instead of a generically branded piece of clothing.

As for other items, such as flashlights, tote bags and beach chairs, look for those that are in new condition. People often put these items to use and, as with many other items, wear and tear is a concern. Make sure you ask about the condition if the seller doesn’t list it along with details on the history of the item.

How collectible are Madoff items and how collectible will they be in the future, say 20-50 years from now? That’s a good question and it probably depends on how severe our current economic downturn becomes. Many depression era items do sell well because of the impression it made on a generation but you won’t see too many Ford/Carter 70’s economic downturn items up for sale. Collectibles like this are a gamble but sometimes you can pick a winner.

What are your thoughts on Bernie Madoff memorabilia for sale on eBay?


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Comment by Feliway
2009-01-08 02:08:09

Ha! Great thinking there, Frank. Bernie Madoff is a great catch, good luck. :)

Comment by Nicole Price
2009-01-08 09:18:18

It is a measure of the illness that plagues our society that memorabilia from a first rate villain finds a market. I personally think that these will not have much market value after the initial enthusiasm wears off.

Comment by jfc
2009-01-08 10:10:28

Hi Nicole,

It’s rare that a financial villain that becomes a folk hero, although Charles Ponzi got a lot of notoriety attached to his name. It’s more likely for a flamboyant violent criminal like Bonnie and Clyde or John Dillinger to gain this kind of enduring fame.

Comment by Nicole Price
2009-01-10 09:22:10

The great names that you mention are antihero types and thus gained fame from the underdogs of society. In this case, Madoff ripped off the rich alright but did not do a Robin Hood, nor did he pretend to be an anti hero. I hold my ground, he is a thoroughbred villain who enjoyed the ride while it lasted and cocked a snook at the world, when he knew that the best part of his life is over and he would not mind spending what was left courtesy Uncle Sam.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Setai miami
2009-04-08 04:48:32

Well he was a villain but he’s already a part of history. And memorabilia afte well known people are always worth a lot of money. Even if the people were known for wrong reasons.

Comment by Atniz
2009-01-09 07:20:42

There are so many fake items sold in ebay these days. It is hard to identify which one is original and which one is fake.

Comment by Kitchen Remodeling
2009-01-24 11:21:32

I despise these guys. Their manipulation of the credit markets have really hurt ordinary folks like me who’re just trying to make a living in the home construction industry.

Comment by Pickup Lines guy
2009-02-07 15:45:18

I just wonder if Sandy Koufax will now be selling his Madoff stuff instead of baseball cards.

2009-02-21 09:59:24

Why burn em when you can at least salvage a few bucks selling em. This guy conned the rich so that he and his wife could live the lavish life. Far from a hero, and he wasn’t alone. More and more of these schemes are popping up.

Was anybody on here involved in 12dailypro?

Comment by Jimmy Meritt
2009-03-01 09:40:29

I heard this joke about Madoff.

Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff invited some rabbis to his home for some spiritual counsuling. First, he prayed with them. Then, out of force of habit, he passed around a plate to take up a collection.

Comment by Black Labradors
2009-03-28 12:35:41

I am trying to forget this guy.

Nice joke Jimmy!

Comment by DoFollow - Chris
2009-05-16 23:38:30

Interesting what people will buy. I did just notice a business card cost $5. That would be kinda cool to have!

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