Historic Webster House Holding Unique Closing Sale

The Webster House opened as a school in 1885 and was renovated by the Helzberg family to become a restaurant and antique shop in 2002. It's now the home of the Kansas City Symphony.

By Kevin Collison

The Webster House is having a going out of business sale, but one that’s as unique as the inventory of fine antiques, art and other goods sold at the Crossroads landmark that closed permanently last spring, a casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two-part closing sale includes an online auction of the finer items, currently underway, that ends Saturday, and a more traditional final inventory sale at the historic former school house at 17th and Wyandotte that will run Aug. 18-23.

Adding interest to the auction is a decision by Webster House owner Shirley Bush Helzberg to sell artworks and other fine art objects from her personal collection.

James Fry of Circle Auction said about one-third of the items being auctioned come from Helzberg herself.

“When Webster House decided to close, they had a unique dilemma,” Fry said. “They have thousands of items in their inventory ranging from old oil paintings to new children’s toys.”

This 18th C oil portrait of a nobleman in Rome is among the auction items. (Image courtesy Circle Auction)

Fry said his firm was hired because it offers both the services of a luxury estate sale as  Brown Button Estate Sales and its Circle Auction online auction house.

“The auction of antiques, artworks and decorative items will be the very best from Webster House and some of the private collection of Shirley Helzberg,” he said.

Auction items range from 18th Century oil paintings to a rare Navaho blanket from the 19th Century. There also will be bronze and marble sculptures, antique European furniture and  decorative arts. Details can be found here.

An 18th C french oak “Serpentine Commode” is among the auction items (Image courtesy Circle Auction)

All bidding takes place online but there will be a preview of the auction items open to the public at the Webster House Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Complimentary wine and desserts will be served from 5-8 p.m.

The more traditional sale of the remaining inventory will begin Aug. 18 and start with a 40 percent discount on items, increasing to 80 percent by the time the sale ends on the 23rd. Details can be found here.

“The in-person sale will feature thousands and thousands of items from antique furniture to kids items,” Fry said.

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    • No, its an open house sale, no appointment necessary, as far as I know. I would think they’ll require you to wear a mask.

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