Jeffrey Epstein's black book will be sold in sealed auction

Bidders' identities will be kept secret in controversial auction

Cover Image for Jeffrey Epstein's black book will be sold in sealed auction
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged Jeffery Epstein with sex trafficking in July 2019. (Credit: Getty Images)

Winners of auctions often display their items or store them in vaults, but they rarely destroy them.

That's what makes a current lot at Alexander Historical Auctions so unusual.

The Maryland-based auction house is auctioning off a copy of Jeffrey Epstein’s black book, which includes the names and contact information that were held by the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender who died in prison in August 2019.

"The names are known," said Basil "Bill" Panagopulos, owner of Alexander Historical Auctions, which has been in business for more than three decades. "The addresses and phone numbers are not."

The auction house expects the winning bidder might buy the item to protect that contact information, or perhaps to prevent further affiliation with Epstein, who faced up to 45 years in prison for sex trafficking at the time of his death.

The 64-page book features mostly typewritten addresses, including many of celebrities.

Alexander put the lot up for bid Wednesday. It is allowing a full month for bids to come in by certified mail or courier to its Maryland location, after which the top two bidders will be notified. At that time, those two bidders will get one last chance to make a closed bid.

No bidders will become public, Panagopolus said. If the consignor's undisclosed reserve is not met, the book will go to a public auction in July.

A more famous copy of an Epstein black book was leaked by Gawker in 2015.

The question is: Would another public appearance possibly hurt someone who hasn't already been canceled as a result of the association? Could another entity buy it to possibly harm those listed?

Many will certainly criticize auctioning off the rolodex of the convicted sex offender as inappropriate. The heightened controversy and scrutiny make this one of the most fascinating auctions in history.

Panagopulos and his business have a history of controversial auctions. The company previously auctioned off Adolf Hitler's ring, his toilet and a blood-stained piece of his couch where he shot himself to death.

"I have no idea what this could go for," Panagopolus said. "There's no precedent. But you never know how paranoid someone can be and how valuable that is. So, I'm gonna just sit back and see what happens."

So where did the book come from, and why isn’t the item in the hands of the federal authorities?

According to a 2021 Business Insider story, in the mid-1990s, a musician found a black book while walking down the street in New York. She didn’t know what it was, but — with some big names listed — she felt it was worth keeping it. So, she placed the item into storage.

In 2020, months after Epstein's death, the woman said she found the book in her storage locker and was now aware it belonged to Epstein. Since much of the book entries are typewritten rather than handwritten, she assumed the item was a copy and listed it on eBay: “Jeffrey Epstein’s notebook, found on Manhattan sidewalk in late '90s.”

When bidding closed Dec. 1, 2020, there was one bid. Panagopolus said the winner was a graduate student, who bought it for $500, plus $20 shipping. That person, who wishes to remain anonymous, is the consignor, Panagopolus said.

Panagopolus doesn't offer many additional details, other than the book includes names and telephone numbers and, in one case, even the number of someone's girlfriend. The auction site includes a single image from one page of the book, which shows the contct information of former President Donald Trump.

Panagopolus says he will allow bidders to peruse the book in person, but will not permit pictures to be taken.

In order to create leverage and urgency for someone to buy it now, Panagopolus says that if the item goes to a public auction this summer, the viewing on the book will be unrestricted.

Panagopolus said he hasn't reached out to any perspective bidders, except for Trump.

"I called Mar-A-Lago," he said. "Once they said the call may be recorded, I hung up."

Darren Rovell is the founder of and one of the country's leading reporters on the collectible market. He previously worked for ESPN, CNBC and The Action Network.