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Barbra Streisand auctions off objects for charity

SINGER and actress Barbra Streisand will auction hundreds of pieces of furniture, art, clothes and other possessions this week in a Beverly Hills charity auction.

The auction on Saturday and Sunday comes as the 67-year-old Streisand's latest album "Love Is the Answer" has landed her back at No. 1 on the US pop chart, making her the first artist to top the chart in five consecutive decades.

Together, the items are worth up to US$600,000 but they are expected to sell for more because they belonged to Streisand.

All proceeds from the sale will go to The Streisand Foundation, which distributes funds to several causes, from the Natural Resources Defense Council to Human Rights Watch.

Among the items is a gold painted wooden "A" that she kept in her kitchen for years as a memento to her decision to drop an "a" from the spelling of her first name four decades ago.

Streisand is also selling a painting believed to be from Dutch artist Kees van Dongen worth up to US$200,000, along with a chipped antique phonograph, shoes, books and a dental cabinet with more than a dozen slim drawers originally used for tools, that Streisand bought at age 18 for her jewelry.

"A lot of these items are very difficult for her to part with," said Darren Julien, the auctioneer handling the sale. "Like the dental cabinet, it was her first purchase."

Julien said Streisand is selling the items, which span everything from art nouveau pieces to American Indian baskets, and Georgian furniture to Americana knickknacks, because they do not fit with the re-design of her Malibu home.

"If you really can't use it, why not let someone else enjoy it?" Streisand was quoted as telling the Los Angeles Times last week.

Streisand previously auctioned her furniture, art and personal items, including a 2004 memorabilia auction that generated about US$500,000 in sales.


Known for her liberal activism, Streisand is selling a piano that brings together her musical career and her passion for Democratic politics. It comes with a picture of her sitting at the keys, with portraits of herself with President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton placed behind her.

While some of the sale items are valuable on their own, such as a pair of George III mahogany bookcase cabinets from 1790 worth up to US$40,000, others are more affordable.

There are several books, revealing an interest in author Elie Wiesel, along with dozens of Streisand's shoes and a rust-colored rabbit fur coat.

There are also objects that show Streisand's creativity as an interior designer, including a Gothic-style table with carved sphinxes that she had planned to turn into a vanity sink, before changing her mind.

"If she wasn't a singer or an actress she would have been a designer," Julien said.


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