Landers Memorabilia Fetches Big Money
Some people wanted more than just Ann Landers’s advice.
The hugely popular advice columnist, who passed away June 22 at the age of 83, will now be a permanent fixture in some people’s lives, following a weekend sale of her personal effects by the San Francisco auction house Butterfields. Bids were taken in-house, as well as over the phone and Internet.
Fans of Landers, whose real name was Esther “Eppie” Lederer, shelled out $250,000 to own her desk, antique furniture, clothing apparel and correspondence with such people as Presidents Kennedy, Carter, Reagan and Bush, as well as talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey. Not on the auction block, however, were letters Landers received from her readers. She took great care in protecting the writers’ identities, her daughter Margo Howard tells the Associated Press.
Howard said the purpose of the sale was to share history and make room in Lederer’s 16-room apartment in Chicago.
“Because of who she was I thought that people who wanted to have that kind of connection to her should have the chance,” Howard tells the AP.
Among the more unusual items up for sale was a pair of combat boots worn by Lederer during a 1967 trip to Vietnam. While there, she collected phone numbers of family and friends of soldiers stationed there, AP reports. Upon her return to the U.S., she spent nearly four days calling those numbers.
Lederer, whose twin sister Pauline wrote the syndicated “Dear Abby” column, began offering her advice in 1955 for the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1987 she moved to the Chicago Tribune, and by 1993 she was in more than 1,200 newspapers throughout the world.