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Friday, April 30, 2004

Martha Stewart’s Brother Selling Childhood Items on eBay

The brother of Westport’s Martha Stewart said today he plans to sell on eBay some of her belongings that date back to childhood.

Among them: A Singer sewing machine used by Stewart to sew her wedding dress in 1961.

Frank Kostyra, 59, who lives in the Alabama community of Fairhope near Mobile, said he got the items in 1987 from their mother with Stewart’s
“blessings’’ and hoped to have more than 200 items posted on the eBay site by tonight.

While Stewart awaits sentencing June 17 for her conviction in a stock sale case, Kostyra said he’s selling the items partly to raise money for a self-published book, “My Life with Martha The Making of Martha Stewart.’’

He said the items to be auctioned include a 1976 Chevrolet Suburban. He says it was used by Stewart to start the catering business that grew into a media empire.

Other items for auction, Kostyra said, include cuttings from a family fig tree in Nutley, N.J., a 55-year-old double boiler Stewart used for cooking chocolate, and a bent-oak rocker from the Stewart grandparents.

There’s also Stewart’s first fly rod and her muskrat traps and stretcher frames. She and her brothers sold muskrat pelts to Sears Roebuck as children, according to Kostyra.

Stewart hasn’t commented publicly about her brother’s eBay auction, but Kostyra said he had received e-mail from her with no objections.

Kostyra said his mother, now living near Westport, near his famous sister, asked him to gather up the tools, kitchen utensils and other items.

“A lot of these items we grew up with,’’ Kostyra said. Other family members “just walked away from it.’‘

“I put them in a big U-Haul and carried them to South Carolina, then to here,’’ he said. “Now I’m having fun going through boxes.’‘

The items have been in storage since Kostyra moved to Mobile with a vending machine business, he said. He now owns FAA Communications, a cable and satellite television business near Decatur that operates in northern Alabama.

He said the items will be available for ``people who want a piece of the Martha legacy. Why not share these things? I don’t need it all.’‘

He said proceeds will also help him publish a series of children’s books he’s writing based on his own five children.

Kostyra said he planned the book about his sister in 2001 before her legal troubles began, describing himself as the `“peacemaker’’ in the large Stewart family, now scattered “from Buffalo to Miami.’‘

Their last reunion, he said, was about 10 years ago for his mother’s 80th birthday.


Posted 04/30/04 at 09:46 PM  Permalink


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Where does the name Kostyra come from? Is it Martha’s birth name?

Posted by Byron Pappageorge on May 03, 2004 at 07:25 PM | #

This is terrible! The items described should stay in the family.  He shouldn’t depend on the proceeds to write a book.  This is disgraceful!

Posted by Chris on May 18, 2004 at 03:15 PM | #

Kostyra is Martha’s maiden name.  It is Polish - she is from a Polish-American family.

Posted by Alexandra Cohen on October 15, 2004 at 11:30 PM | #