The proceeds from the online auctions will benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, which auctioned a series of packages involving figures from the worlds of politics, business, sports and entertainment. Auction site Charitybuzz keeps 20 percent of the final price.
Both auctions were listed with an estimated value of $5,000.
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If Bernanke and Geithner won't exactly be cheap lunch dates for the winning bidders, the five-figure sums their auctions fetched still don't match up with the prices bidders have paid to sit down with top business leaders.
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Last year, a 30-minute coffee meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook went for $610,000, while a similar sit-down at the iPhone maker's Cupertino, Calif. headquarters sold for $330,001 on Tuesday (cost of travel and accommodations not included). The estimated value of the Cook meeting was $100,000.
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Bidders who missed out on the Bernanke and Geithner lunches still have another opportunity to dine with former Washington bigwigs. Charitybuzz is auctioning a lunch with President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Proceeds will benefit the Clinton Foundation. As of Tuesday afternoon, the latest bidding was $33,500, but it's likely to climb considerably by the time the auction ends on May 21. A past Charitybuzz auction for a day with the former president sold for $255,000.
Even that pales in comparison to the amounts bidders have paid in charity auctions for eat-and-greet sessions with Warren Buffett. A lunch with the Oracle of Omaha sold for just over $1 million last year, and in previous years the final bid had topped $2 million. In 2012, a lunch with Buffett drew a record bid of nearly $3.5 million.
—The Fiscal Times' Yuval Rosenberg