Every year, Warren Buffett auctions off lunch with him at Smith & Wollensky, a steakhouse in midtown Manhattan, and every year the auction gets a ton of attention. Even through the recession, the auction fetched in the seven figures. The proceeds benefit the Glide Foundation, a not for profit organization in San Francisco that seeks to “break the cycles of multi-generational dependency, poverty, and low self-worth by providing a spiritual home of unconditional love.”
This year, the winner paid a record $3,456,789 to have a meal with Warren Buffett. There were 106 bids on the auction  and the price skyrocketed in the waning moments. We’ll see if the winner is revealed.
Here’s a history of who won previous auctions and how much they paid:
- 2003 – $250,100 – David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital hedge fund,
- 2004 – $202,100 – Jason Choo of Singapore (later increased his donation to an even $250k)
- 2005 – $351,100 – Opted to remain anonymous
- 2006 – $620,100 – Yongping Duan, a famous Chinese business figure who founded Subor Electronics Industry Corporation and BKK Electronics Group.
- 2007 – $650,100 – Two investors, Mohnish Pabrai, of Pabrai Investment Funds, and Guy Spier of Aquamarine Capital Management LLC. Pabrai will pay 2/3s, Spier the other third.
- 2008 – $2.11 million – Zhao Danyang, who runs the Pureheart China Growth Investment Fund in Hong Kong.
- 2009 – $1.68 million – Courtenay Wolfe, president and chief executive of Canadian hedge fund Salida Capital.
- 2010 – $2,626,311 – Opted to remain anonymous (later revealed to be Ted Weschler, managing partner of hedge fund Peninsula Capital Advisors)
- 2011 – $2,626,411 – Opted to remain anonymous (Ted Weschler again)
The crazy things about the 2010 and 2011 winner, Ted Weschler, is that it Buffett ends up hiring him (and Todd Combs) to running some of the company’s investments. He paid $5.25 million to get an interview with Warren Buffett (they skipped Smith & Wollensky, instead going to Omaha and dining at Piccolo’s)… and he landed the job!