Warren Buffett’s diet may consist primarily of Dairy Queen Blizzards, See’s chocolates and Cherry Coke, but the man is also a born-and-bred Nebraskan, which means he likes his steak. And for charitable purposes, he’s also willing to tolerate New York City. This combined passion for red meat and philanthropy, alongside this bare tolerance for the Big Apple, has led to one of the Wall Street calendar’s finest annual events: The Warren Buffett charitable steak lunch auction. Things have come a long way since David Einhorn proved his worth as a value investor by snaring the coveted sit-down for a mere $250,100 in 2003, which, while 10 times what the previous winners had paid, is less than a tenth what Ted Wechsler paid twice in his successful bid to win a job at Berkshire.
Since Wechsler’s days of having to pay to dine with his now boss, there have been ups and downs in the eBay auction. In 2012 and last year, an anonymous person (or two anonymous people) bid and paid the delightfully sequential sum of $3,456,789. But in 2013, some other anonymous person (or possibly the same one in a less puckish mood) pulled an Einhorn by getting the sit-down for just over $1 million. This year, amidst the tumult and travails, that person or someone else valuing their privacy managed to get to pick Buffett’s brain about everything other than the things you’d actually want to pick his brains about for the relatively modest and strategic bid of $2,679,001.
The winning bid came in the closing seconds of the five-day eBay auction, which drew 41 bids before ending on Friday night. It was lower than the record $3,456,789 bid in similar auctions in 2012 and 2016….
The successful bidder and up to seven friends will dine with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steak house in Manhattan. All topics are fair game apart from where Buffett will invest next.