White Elephant Sale Celebrates 50th

2011 Sale Update: Yes, the 52nd Annual White Elephant’s alive and well, and it’s called the Wild, Wild WES.  The preview sale takes place on Sunday, January 30th from 10 am – 4 pm.

Ticket prices have increased this year, running $20 at the door.  In advance, you may buy a $15 preview ticket by snail-mailing this form (through the 25th) or by visiting the Oakland Museum’s reception desk (through the 29th).

Of course, you can chance it and wait for the main sale which doesn’t charge admission. But cool your heels, since that takes place on Saturday and Sunday, March 5-6th, from 10 am – 4 pm.

Oakland White Elephant


2010 Sale Update: Yes, the 51st Annual White Elephant’s alive and well. The preview sale takes place on Sunday, January 31st from 10 am – 4 pm, and costs $15 at the door. Then the main sale doesn’t charge admission, and takes place on Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7th, from 10 am – 4 pm.


In Oakland, the best-known White Elephant Sale is about to celebrate its 50th birthday!  There’s a preview sale tomorrow, followed by the full event in March.

The Oakland Museum Women’s Board (OMWB) organizes this annual extravaganza to raise funds for the museum.  They raised only $500 back in 1959, the first year the sale was held.  Fast forward, and the OMWB hauled in a whopping $1.28 million last year.

When’s the event?

The official White Elephant Sale takes place on March 7-8th, and admission is free.  However true aficionados know they can pay for earlier access, during this Sunday’s preview sale.  For a $15 entry fee/person, you get “first dibs” at this huge rummage event.

Doors are open from 10 am – 4 pm tomorrow, down at the White Elephant Warehouse – 333 Lancaster Street (map, directions).  Kids under 12 are free, but strollers must be checked at the door.

There’s some paid parking at the Fruitvale BART station or you can take BART.  There will be a shuttle running between the station and warehouse, which begins an hour before doors open.

What will you find?

Some 17 different departments of goods are presented in the 96,000 sq ft warehouse.  The sale depends on donations from Oaklanders and other East Bay residents, which are collected all year.  There are estate items along with all kinds of cast-asides (see photos), plus strict guidelines about items not accepted too.

Last year, the Women’s Board reported that furniture, jewelry, art and books/photos/music were the four largest departments, which jointly contributed over a half-million to the total $1.28 million sales.  Who knows, this could be your chance to discover a future Antiques Roadshow winner.

Yet this White Elephant draws attendees from the entire Bay Area, because you can find practical things you want or need too.  There’s a huge array of household items, which can help furnish your apartment or house.  Of course, loads of adult clothes and kids stuff are available as well.

What’s great is that all the proceeds are for the Oakland Museum – so you can’t go wrong here.

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