Hundreds flock to Kahala for auction of items from Kawamoto mansions
KAHALA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of people came to a Kahala Avenue mansion to bid on items that once belonged to Genshiro Kawamoto. But many others came Saturday just for a look.
Bidding inside the mansion was fast and furious, with starting bids as low as a hundred dollars for many items, including some of the infamous nude statues collected by the eccentric Japanese billionaire.
Outside, Kahala Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood were jammed with cars that were parked wherever there was space available. There was even a food truck parked just outside the mansion's gates, offering plate lunches and refreshments.
"We did expect some crowd, but not a huge crowd like we got this morning," said Alicia Brandt of Oahu Auctions, which ran the auction for Alexander and Baldwin. The local real estate developer bought 31 of Kawamoto's properties last September for $98 million.
A&B also got what was in those properties, including art, porcelain and furnishings.
Organizers had expected a lot of people, but the turnout exceeded expectations, with about 600 people registered to bid by mid-morning.
"People are still trickling in," said Brandt about an hour after the auction started. "it's an all-day event. So we anticipate people kind of going and then coming in -- but it's a phenomenal turnout."
While there were several serious bidders, there were others who just wanted to see what Kawamoto had in his mansions.
When Jan Barosh was asked if she planned to buy anything, she responded, "No, because I'm going to be moving, so I don't know what's going to fit in my next home. Otherwise I might consider a few things."
"I didn't buy anything. We just came to see the crowd and view everything," said Kris Reisdorf. "Interesting."
"There was a table that I really loved, but how knows if I could ever use it?" said Barosh.
Kawamoto is now in Tokyo, unable to travel as he awaits trial on charges of tax evasion. And since the items no longer belong to him, he won't get any of the proceeds from the auction, which included the sale of his big statues and granite lion sculptures.
"If I had the space for one, I might have to consider it," said Reisdorf, who left without anything.
Slideshow: Kawamoto items up for auction
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