The infamous Golden Eye Diamond went up for auction Tuesday. The online auction is being handled by Bid4Assets, an online auction site contracted by the U.S. Marshals Service to conduct the sale of the rare gem.
The minimum starting bid of $900,000 was easily surpassed in the first day. By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, four bids were placed, including a bid at $1.5 million. The auction is set to end on Thursday. The high-risk auction requires all perspective buyers to submit a refundable pre-bid deposit of $180,000 before placing a bid.
The Golden Eye Diamond was seized and forfeited to the government following the conviction of its previous handler, Ohio businessman Paul Monea, on money laundering and conspiracy charges. Monea was arrested through a FBI operation in which Monea tried selling the diamond and an estate formally owned by Mike Tyson for a reported $19.5 million and a boat to an undercover agent posing as a big-time drug dealer.
A federal judge had to sift through numerous claims of ownership of the rare gem based on previous deals made with Monea before it was ultimately forfeited to the government.
Upon completion of the auction, 20-percent of the proceeds will go to the U.S. Marshals Service. The additional monies earned will go to the federal asset forfeiture fund, while some proceeds may be sent to local agencies that assisted in the three-year investigation of Monea.
The Golden Eye Diamond is a flawless 43.51-carat Canary Yellow diamond that is claimed to be the largest of its cut and color in the world. Before being cut to its current size and clarity, the Golden Eye Diamond carried a natural weight of 124.5 carats, making it the first 100+ carat diamond ever discovered on the continent of Africa.