Oprah Winfrey is pretty great when it comes to giving away stuff, so you already know she’d be a MASTER at sales.
The media mogul really outdid herself last weekend during a yard sale at her Santa Barbara, California home on Saturday.
Oprah decluttered her Montecito mansion and three other properties, with a combined ‘yard sale’ that netted over $600,000 in one day, and while clearly this wasn’t your usual yard sale where you can pick up a few paperbacks for .50 cents, there were lots of ‘bargains’ to be had.
$600,000 may not seem like a bargain to you, but these were OPRAH’s unwanted items, so they drew a huge crowd who were willing and ready to pay more for things you’d probably give away.
For example, crystal lamp bases that were really only worth a few hundred bucks sold during Oprah’s sale for over $2,500 and even Oprah seemed surprised at the starting bid for some of her ‘Color Purple’ memorabilia.
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 but they kept going until each and every item was sold.
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.
The Los Angeles Times posted a list of several items sold during Oprah’s yard sale:
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.
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.
For the record, Oprah’s $600,000 pay-day isn’t to purchase her new vacation spot, it will all go to benefit her girls’ leadership academy in South Africa.
Way to go Miss O!