Madoff jewelry being sold at auction

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"Bittersweet" News for Madoff Victim's Family

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- If Bernard Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme proved one adage correct, it might be this: all that glitters is not gold.

His jewelry, however, is another matter.

The U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday began auctioning off several high-priced pieces of jewelry seized from Madoff and his wife, Ruth, including a diamond tennis bracelet, a gold money clip and two Patek Philippe watches.

The proceeds from the auction, which ends on Feb. 19, will be added to a restitution fund for Madoff's victims.

RELATED: See images from the Madoff trial:

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Madoff jewelry being sold at auction
Victims of Bernie Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme, Morton Chalek, 91, standing, a WWII vet, and his friend Fran Reiss, 79, a retired educator, pose in the apartment they share, on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 in New York. With the fifth anniversary of Madoff's fraud approaching, Chalek and Reiss are among a legion of former investors still struggling to move on after seeing their life savings go up in flames. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Jack and Melba Cutter are shown in their home in a subdivision outside the north-central Colorado city of Longmont on Saturday, June 27, 2009. Jack Cutter, who is 80 years old, has returned to work as a clerk at a meat counter in a supermarket after he and his wife invested their savings with a small firm last year that sent the money into feeder funds created by Bernie Madoff. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Friehling, the former accountant for con artist Bernard 'Bernie' Madoff, center, exits federal court following a sentencing hearing in New York, U.S., on Thursday, May 28, 2015. Friehling, who signed off on phony audits of Madoffs firm for decades, became the fourth person tied to the $17.5 billion fraud to avoid prison after aiding prosecutors. Photographer: Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Daniel Bonventre (L), former director of operations for investments, working under Bernie Madoff, arrives at Federal Court, to begin a trial being brought against him by the federal government on October 8, 2013 in New York City. Federal prosecutors allege that Bonventre worked for Madoff and knowingly supported the largest Ponzi in history, which Madoff led. Prior to the collapse of the scheme, Madoff reported that his accounts held approximately $68 billion, when they in fact only held a few hundred million dollars. Madoff was found guilty and is serving a 150-year sentence in North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: Brother of convicted Ponzi king Bernard Madoff ,67-year-old Peter Madoff, arrives at U.S. District Court in Manhattan on December 20, 2012 in New York City. A plea agreement makes a 10-year prison term all but certain for Madoff who was convicted after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and falsifying books and records of an investment adviser. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Daily News back page February 16. 2011, Headline: The Knew Nothing - Fred Wilon and Mets partner Saul Katz didn't know about Bernie Madoff's multi-billion dollar sam, says the man who ran it all. Madoff comes to Mets owners defense. Lupica: with nothing to gain why would Bernie lie now? (Photo By: NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Annette Bongiorno, a former secretary at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, exits federal court in New York, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011. Bongiorno, 62, is among five people facing charges of helping Bernie Madoff defraud investors of billions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Daniel Bonventre, former director of operations for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, exits federal court in New York, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011. Bonventre, 63, is among five people facing charges of helping Bernie Madoff defraud investors of billions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JUNE 29: Ira Sorkin, Bernie Madoff's lead attorney, arrives at manhattan federal court in New York, U.S., on Monday, June 29, 2009. (Photo by Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 14: Daily News front page March 14, 2009, Headline: WHAT BERNIE MADE OFF WITH, Reviled Madoffs own more than 826M in planes, homes & assets, Bernie Madoff,Bernard Madoff. Rihanna's back in town, Rihanna (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 12: Investors DeWitt Baker (R) and Judith Welling, who had invested with financier Bernard Madoff, are interviewed outside a Manhattan Federal courthouse after Madoff was sent by a judge to jail to await sentencing on March 12, 2009 in New York City. Madoff was ordered to jail after pleading guilty to a multibillion-dollar financial fraud scheme and could end up with a sentence of 150 years in prison. (Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Accused $50 billion Ponzi scheme swindler Bernard Madoff exits federal court March 10, 2009 in New York City. Madoff was attending a hearing on his legal representation and is due back in court Thursday. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to masterminding a decades-long fraud at his firm that cost investors an estimated $17 billion in lost principal. The scheme, in which Madoff used money from some investors to pay profits to others, went undetected for decades.

The minimum opening bids for the watches and the bracelet was $21,250, while the money clip, made by Tiffany & Co, started at a relatively affordable $380. The auction is being handled by Texas-based Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers and is available online at

U.S. authorities have sold numerous items in the past seized from Madoff and members of his family.

In 2011, 14 pairs of Madoff's boxer shorts sold for $200. Auctions in 2009 and 2010 netted million of dollars in total for items such as a 10.5-carat diamond ring, Madoff's New York Mets jacket and his boats.

Madoff, 77, is serving a 150-year prison sentence. Fourteen others, including Madoff's brother Peter and several employees of the firm, have been convicted either at trial or via guilty plea in connection with the scheme.

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