A final-minute bid lifted the eventual price to $19 million. Image Credit: Reuters

San Francisco: Warren Buffett has cemented his legacy as one of the most expensive lunch guests of all time.

The winning bid in a benefit auctioning off a chance to dine with the billionaire investor clocked in at $19 million, according to the Ebay listing, securing an anonymous bidder and up to seven guests a meal with the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman and CEO at Smith & Wollensky in New York.

The auction to raise money for San Francisco-based charity Glide opened Sunday with a starting price of $25,000. By Monday, bids crept past $2 million. The competition took a sharp turn Friday, the last day of bidding, with one potential diner placing an $11 million bid that sparked a costly tug-of-war. A final-minute bid lifted the eventual price to $19 million.

The whopping sum easily surpassed the previous record set by cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun, who paid $4.57 million to win the auction in 2019. The event wasn’t held in 2020 or 2021 because of the pandemic.

The auction’s biggest-ever year will also be its last. Since it started in 2000, the benefit has raised more than $53 million to support Glide, which offers programs to address poverty and homelessness, particularly in San Francisco.

Winning bids across the years have come from financial figures like hedge fund manager David Einhorn. Ted Weschler bid more than $5 million combined over two auctions before Berkshire hired him as an investment manager.