Oprah Winfrey is pretty great when it comes to charity (which makes sense since she’s so loaded) and she really outdid herself this weekend when she decided to throw a yard sale at her Santa Barbara, California home on Saturday. She managed to raise over $600,000 on a single day, so clearly this wasn’t your usual yardsale where you can pick up some paperbacks for 50 cents and a new coffee machine for $3.
Of course, because this was Oprah’s stuff, prices were way higher than they normally would have been. For example, some crystal lamp bases that were really only worth a few hundred bucks went for over $2,500. Whaaaat? Here’s more from the Los Angeles Times:
A set of six 18th century Louis XVI armchairs with hand-embroidered details elicited a winning bid of $60,000 at the sale, held at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria. But more staggering: the extent to which prices on lesser items were driven up by online bidders, in many cases fans who simply wanted something from Oprah’s house.
The auction started around 11:30 a.m. with the first two items in the sale, canvas banners promoting Winfrey in “The Color Purple,” fielding winning bids of $4,100 and $6,000. The exuberance — irrational or otherwise — built from there.
A 16-by-20-inch print of a TV Guide cover photo featuring Winfrey had a pre-auction estimate of $200 to $400 but ended up selling for $3,000. A pair of simple crystal lamp bases (no shades) estimated at $200 to $400 went for $2,500. Bidding on a painting estimated at $300 to $500 rose to $6,000, and a dog portrait generously characterized in the catalog as “folk art” went for $1,400 — about three times its estimated value. Those prices do not include the buyer’s premium, a 20% or 23% commission to the auction house paid on top of the winning bid.
A rudimentary chair that a fan painted for Oprah was estimated at only $100 to $200, yet bids rose to $1,000. A teapot worth less than $100 also sold for $1,000. One anonymous online buyer bought not one but two 13-foot-long sofas, upholstered in crushed velvet with roped fringe, with bids of $4,000 and $4,750.
The usual quick pace of a live sale dragged as Kaminski Auctions, which ran the event, fielded a relentless stream of incremental bids on practically every item. After the first two hours, the auctioneer’s gavel had fallen on just 55 of 584 lots in the sale.
Money raised from the event will go to her girls’ leadership academy in Africa – and that’s a nice chunk of money, wouldn’t you say?