What would you pay to break bread with one of the richest men in the world? Ask the anonymous donor who put in the winning bid of $2,626,411 at the 12th annual charity auction for the privilege of dining with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
The auction which opened at 10:30pm on Sunday had seven bids in total. It started with a minimum bid of $25,000 and then moved to $100,000, $1,000,011, $1,511,011, $2,000,011 and then reached $2,345,678.
The highest bid was still $300,000 short of the $2.6 million recorded for the fundraiser last year.
However, after the auction officially ended, the unidentified winner not only raised his own bid but topped the previous offer by $100 to set a new record for the annual eBay charity lunch-auction.
"We do raise money, and money counts, so I urge people to unbutton their wallet, to pull out a check, to reach into the purse, whatever it takes, and contribute," said Buffett.
The winning bidder besides enjoying lunch with Mr. Buffett at Smith & Wollensky, a top Manhattan steakhouse, will get to spend several hours of quality time with the legendary investor.
Income generated for Glide Foundation
The proceeds from the auction will go to the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco based non-profit organization established 45 years ago by the Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani.
The organization offers meals, childcare, housing, job training and healthcare to the poor and homeless.
Buffett was introduced to the Glide Foundation by his late wife, Susan Thompson Buffett. Since the first lunch action in 2000 which went for an anonymous bid of $25,000, Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has helped raise nearly $12 million.
“This money will go to those who are in deep distress,” Rev. Cecil Williams, Glide’s founder, said at an event hosted by the charity last night in San Francisco. “Thank you to Warren Buffett and to the bidders.”
Steak lunch with Buffet
The winning bidder besides enjoying lunch with Mr. Buffett at Smith & Wollensky, a top Manhattan steakhouse will get to spend several hours of quality time with the legendary investor.
It will give him an opportunity to query Buffett, the world's third-richest man, about business strategies, investment philosophy, corporate governance, and philanthropy.
The winner gets to bring as many as seven guests to share the occasion.
"I've met a lot of nice people through this," Mr Buffett said.
Other winners of Glide Lunch With Warren Buffett
Last year’s winning bid by an anonymous American at $2.6 million set a record for the most expensive charity item ever sold on EBay.
Other winners of the Glide lunch include an anonymous winner at $18,000 in 2001, an anonymous bid at $25,000 in 2002, David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital won the lunch auction at $250,100 in 2003, Jason Choo of Singapore bid $202,100 for sharing a meal with Buffet in 2004.
In 2005 the bid of $351,100 was anonymous, in 2006 Yongping Duan, a California investor paid $620,100 and in 2007 Mohnish Pabrai, Guy Spier, Harina Kapoor bid $650,100 for the charity meal.
In 2008, Zhao Danyang, a Hong Kong investor paid $2.11 million to have lunch with Buffett. In 2009, a group led by Courtenay Wolfe of Canada’s Salida Capital Corporation won with a $1.68 million bid.