Bernie and Booze

I knew that sooner or later, I’d get to post something about Bernie Madoff and the booze business.

Morrell and Company held an online auction of his wine and spirits collection. For a swindler who lived the rich life having stolen $65 billion, his wine collection seems to me to be paltry and uninspired. But, buyers gladly overpaid for the boasting rights of owning the charlatan’s wine and spirits.

As the auction house put it, “Some of the bottles are better viewed as conversation pieces rather than valued for their contents.”

The wines went for well beyond their value. A case of 1996 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild was valued at $3,200 to $3,800 and sold for $6,800. A bottle of Chateau Lynch-Bages from 1990 went for $2,200 despite a value appraised at no more than $1,600.

But, my favorite over valued auctioned items was on the spirits side.

Four minis consisting of Bombay, Grand Marnier and Smirnoff valued at $10 to $20 went for $300. Minis?

Nine bottles that included Jack Daniel’s, Jose Cuervo and Drambuie sold for $500 versus an estimated value of around $200. (The value must have taken into account the prices billionaires have to pay for booze in midtown Manhattan or in The Hamptons.)

Included in the nine bottle lot was – drumroll please – a bottle of Seagram’s VO with the original Canadian tax stamp dated 1981. All those years trying to figure out how to make VO grow – who knew it was a collector’s item!

A personal note to Madoff:

Dear Bernie,

Happy you are rotting in prison and hope you are not doing well. While many are laughing about your choice of alcohol libations, I for one am pleased that you obviously were not “from the drinkers.” I’m also pleased that the industry did not benefit from your ill-gotten gains.

But I am curious about something. I can understand ripping off minis from an airplane or hotel room bar. But Smirnoff and Cuervo?

Well anyway, at least the victims’ fund got some money — $41,530 to be exact. I suppose it’s a rounding error in the scheme of things but I also got a posting out of it, didn’t I?

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