Most Expensive Lunch: Warren Buffett charity lunch sets world record (VIDEO)
OMAHA, Neb., USA -- The annual auction for a private lunch with investor Warren Buffett (chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.) was sold for $3.5 million at a charity auction to help the homeless in San Francisco
- setting the new world record for the Most Expensive Lunch Date Sold at Auction,
according to the World Record Academy: www.worldrecordacademy.com/. Photo: The cost to dine with investor Warren Buffett has apparently spiked in value, with one deep-pocketed bidder forking over nearly $3.5 million during a charity auction. The auction benefits the Glide Foundation, which helps the homeless in San Francisco. Buffett has raised more than $11.5 million for the group in 13 past auctions. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP (enlarge photo)
The auction benefits the Glide Foundation, which helps the homeless in San Francisco. Buffett has raised more than $11.5 million for the group in 13 past auctions.
The event provides a significant portion of Glide's roughly $17 million annual budget that pays for social services to the poor and homeless.
The Guinness world record for the Most expensive lunch date sold at auction was set by a Hong Kong based investor who paid US$2.1 million (?1.3 million) on 28 June 2008 for a lunch date with Warren Buffett, the world's richest man. Zhao Danyang (Hong Kong) enjoyed a meal for himself and seven friends accopmanied by Mr. Buffett at Smith & Wollensky's steakhouse in New York.
Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the most expensive white wine, set by a single bottle of Chateau d'Yquem (1811), which was sold for £75,000 ($117,000) by The Antique Wine Company, London, UK.
The Glide auction's winners traditionally dine with Buffett at New York's Smith and Wollensky steak house. The restaurant donates at least $10,000 to Glide each year to host the auction lunch.
"We just had a most amazing, shocking experience occur in our great city," Glide's founder, the Rev. Cecil Williams, said in a statement. "We are shouting, dancing, rejoicing and celebrating."
Buffett became one of the world's richest men while building Berkshire Hathaway into a conglomerate. But he says most of the questions he gets at the lunches aren't about investing.
Buffett has supported the San Francisco organization ever since his late first wife, Susan, introduced him to Williams.
Buffett says Williams is a key reason why Glide has been able to help so many people after the world had given up on them. "He's changed thousands of lives that would not have been changed otherwise," Buffett said before the bidding closed.
The previous four winning bids have all exceeded $2 million with records set every year. Last year's winner, hedge fund manager Ted Weschler, paid $2,626,411.
Past winners of the auction have said they believe the time with Buffett was well worth the price they paid in the auction.
The lunches often continue for several hours as Buffett answers their questions. Buffett says many of the questions he gets at the lunches are about nonbusiness subjects such as family and philanthropy.
Buffett has slowly given away his fortune since 2006, and he plans to eventually divide most of his shares of Berkshire stock between five charitable foundations. The largest chunk will go to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Buffett and Gates have also been encouraging other wealthy people to give away at least half of their fortunes. Nearly 80 of the nation's wealthiest families have signed the pledge.