Oprah Winfrey raised close to $600,000 at her auction Saturday. She surprised bidders as she showed up at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club. The talk show queen auctioned off the first few items, including two signed 1985 "The Color Purple" posters. One poster went for $4,100 and the other for $6,000.
Those who visited the tented showrooms browsed through hundreds of Oprah's personal belongings from her homes in Santa Barbara, Indiana, Maui and Chicago. It was a fierce competition. Saturday's bidders were competing for items with online and telephone bidders. Thousands of people across the U.S., Canada, India, the Philippines and other parts of the world had already made their bids prior to the main event.
An 18th century Louis XVI Leonard Boudin Bureau went for $21,000. A photograph of Oprah and Michael Jordan sold for $650, and the Jetson electric scooters were auctioned off at about $2,500 each. One of the Jetsons went for $5,600.
There was also a change of heart. Oprah ended up taking back a 1998 enlarged cover of Vogue Magazine that she wanted to keep.
Winfrey spoke to NewsChannel 3 anchor Shirin Rajaee. She says that while it's hard to let go of some items, it's also time to declutter. The OWN CEO adds that her style has changed.
Her Montecito estate is under renovation because a lot of the furniture and fine art is not true to who Oprah is today. She says that when she first moved into her Santa Barbara home, she felt she had to go with the fancy estate-like feel. This included the gilded frames and the 18th and 19th century antique pieces. But now, her style is pajamas.
She wants a home where she can live in every room, put her feet up and feel comfortable. She adds that all guests must wear pajamas as well.
The proceeds from the auction will be going to The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, a girls school in South Africa founded in 2007. Oprah says the idea came while speaking to former South African President Nelson Mandela. They both agreed that in order to change the world, it starts with education. Winfrey started and built the school, and she couldn't be more proud of her students.
There are more than 300 students at the school now, 74 of which will graduate this year, and every student has gone off to college.
To donate to the foundation visit: www.owla.co.za