Charity Lunch With Warren Buffett Auctions for $620,100

A lunch date with billionaire investor Warren Buffett is getting pricier. Someone paid $620,100 in an online charity auction to dine with the Oracle of Omaha in New York. In last year's auction, the winning bid was $351,100.

Five individuals placed 29 bids in the eBay Inc. (EBAY) auction that ended Thursday evening. The winner of the auction was identified only by the eBay user name "fastisslow."

Proceeds from the auction go to the Glide Foundation, which provides social services to the poor and homeless in San Francisco.

The winning bidder will be able to take seven friends to lunch with Buffett, who is chairman and chief executive of Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK). The owners of the Smith and Wollensky restaurant in New York contributed $10,000 to Glide and will host the lunch.

Bidding on the lunch topped $500,000 Monday, the day after Buffett announced his plans to give nearly $37 billion worth of stock in his investment company to five charitable foundations over time, with the largest share going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This year's lunch with Buffett is the second-most expensive charity item ever sold on eBay, said Catherine England, a spokeswoman for the site.

The most expensive charity item ever sold on eBay was a Harley Davidson motorcycle autographed by celebrities that Jay Leno offered last year. England said that bike raised $800,100 for the American Red Cross' tsunami relief effort.

The next highest-priced charity item was a lunch and golf outing for four with Tiger Woods that sold in 2001 for $425,000, England said.

This is the fourth year Buffett has auctioned a lunch on eBay and donated the proceeds to the Glide Foundation. Buffett began auctioning the lunches for the charity off-line in 2000.