NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 12, 2013

Teaming up with Oprah

Beverly company to handle auction of Winfrey's collection

BEVERLY — When Frank Kaminski was a boy, his mother took him to antique shows and flea markets. When he was 17, he held his first auction in his parents’ backyard.

“I’ve had the antique bug for a long time,” he said.

Those humble roots are going to seem a long way off next month when Kaminski and his Beverly-based company preside over one of the biggest auctions of the year.

On Nov. 2, Kaminski Auctions will auction off hundreds of items belonging to Oprah Winfrey on the grounds of the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club in Carpinteria, Calif.

The auction will include furnishings and personal items from Winfrey’s homes in Santa Barbara, Chicago, Indiana and Maui. The proceeds will benefit a college fund for graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

Kaminski said his company landed the big auction after a representative from his California office spoke with one of Winfrey’s people.

Kaminski flew to California and met Winfrey at her carriage house where her items were stored. Everything had been removed from her Santa Barbara mansion because it is undergoing extensive renovations, he said.

Kaminski and his staff spent three hours with Winfrey going over each item.

“It was just as her movie, ‘The Butler,’ came out and she had conducted 65 interviews,” he said. “She was very, very nice, and they hired us.”

The auction will feature European antiques such as a Louise XVI chest with an estimated value of between $30,000 and $50,000; hand-wrought iron panels from the main staircase of her Santa Barbara mansion, estimated at $4,000 to $7,000; and a green-and-white plaid couch valued at $3,000 to $4,000.

There will also be a number of memorabilia items autographed by Winfrey, including magazine covers and promotional material for the movie “The Color Purple.”

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