NEW YORK (
) -- A new record was set Friday night in the annual charity auction for the privilege of lunching with
In a flurry of last-minute bidding, an anonymous participant agreed to write a check of more than $2.6 million, the highest price ever paid for the right to dine with the Oracle of Omaha in the ten years that the auction has existed. The lunch will take place over steaks at the New York City location of Smith & Wollensky.
The previous highest bid ever placed for the Buffett lunch, in 2008 just before the financial collapse gathered steam, was $2 million. Last year's winner paid $1.7 million.
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As of 5 p.m. ET Friday, the highest bid was a little more than $1.5 million, but within the next few hours a spate of bidders rushed in. The winning offer was placed at 7:30 p.m.
The auction received 77 bids, 20 of which came in the final two hours.
The winner is allowed to bring along seven guests to the restaurant, where guests will enjoy filet mignon and folksy investment wisdom.
Proceeds from the auction benefit the
, a 45-year old Bay Area group focused on poverty and homelessness.
Buffett was most recently in the news when he testified before the Congressionally mandated Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) about the role of rating agencies in triggering the housing bubble and recession. Buffett had rebuffed the commission, which was then forced to bring him to the table with a subpoena.
Buffett used his testimony before the FCIC to argue that bubbles are part of capitalism, and even geniuses like Sir Isaac Newton were not smart enough to avoid losing money in them.
But with the price of dining with the Oracle reaching new heights, perhaps it's time to talk about a Warren Buffett lunch bubble.
-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.
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