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Oprah goes big with estate sale

March 17, 2015

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It will be four years in May since Oprah Winfrey aired the final episode of her eponymous talk show. She recently announced plans to close Harpo Studios on Chicago’s west side. And now, Winfrey is planning a big Chicago estate sale.

On April 25, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, a Chicago-based house, will auction “a selection of items” from Winfrey’s Chicago residence. Winfrey lived in a number of places during her three decades in Chicago, including a condo around the corner from where I once lived on Chicago’s Gold Coast.

It was fun to occasionally see Winfrey gliding by in a car on her way to Harpo, and we also had the fastest snow removal of any city street I’ve ever lived on.

Since ending her show, Winfrey has been based in California, now home to her production company and the OWN cable television network. She had kept some production work at Harpo in Chicago, but sold the site to a developer last year for about $32 million, according to the Huffington Post.

The upcoming auction will feature fine art, fine antique furniture and decorative objects, fine silver, Asian works of art, luxury accessories, designer couture and memorabilia, Hindman says. The proceeds of the auction will benefit Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – South Africa.

The catalog for the auction isn’t on the website yet, but Hindman says it contains more than 500 lots including English, French and Continental furniture and decorative arts, paintings, prints, drawings, porcelain, crystal, silver, memorabilia, clothing and accessories. You can pre-order the catalog for $25, or $20 if you can pick it up in Chicago.

It is hard to overstate just how much Winfrey meant to Chicago in her heyday. NPR credited her with bringing “jobs, development and pride” to the west side, a somewhat desolate area before Harpo arrived. Chicago named the street outside Harpo “Oprah Winfrey Way” in 2011.

Through the years, Winfrey held a series of sales of her designer clothing and accessories, once having an Oprah store at Harpo studios. A 2013 sale raised $600,000 for charity.

So, it’s likely that the Oprah sale will draw plenty of attention, even though she’s no longer a broadcast television mainstay. Take a look at Oprah’s all-time, happiest moment ever.

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