Money

What happened when Warren Buffett auctioned off a wallet with stock advice inside

In legendary investor Warren Buffett's wallet, you'll find photos of his kids and grandkids, a signed $50 bill that he carries for good luck and a card that allows him to eat for free at any McDonald's in Omaha, Neb.

But back in the 90s, he auctioned off a wallet loaded with something even more valuable: A stock tip from the Oracle of Omaha himself.

In 1999, Buffett sold his 20-year-old wallet to the highest bidder for $210,000, with all proceeds going to Girls Inc., a charity that supports young girls in Omaha, The Wall Street Journal reports. To sweeten the deal, he included the name of a "winning" stock inside it.

Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in the world
CNBC | Getty Images
Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in the world

The wallet's new owner, John Morgan, had an idea to raise even more money for the charity. He spread word that he'd reveal Buffett's advice for $1,000 a pop. It worked — about 30 people ponied up a grand each to hear Buffett's pick, according to the Journal.

The company: First Industrial Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust that owns warehouses and distribution facilities across the U.S. Real estate investment trusts, otherwise known as REITs, provide investors with a liquid stake in real estate and typically offer high dividends. They are similar to mutual funds but invest in properties such as office buildings or shopping centers.

So was Buffett's pick a winner? Kind of. At the time of the announcement, the WSJ explained that "the news promises to boost First Industrial," but added that "nearly anything the famed 'sage of Omaha' buys typically jumps in price after it has been disclosed."

Buffett's holding onto his wallet these days, but he's still auctioning off his time for the sake of charity. For the past 18 years, the highest bidder can score a private lunch with the billionaire, with all proceeds going to the Glide Foundation, which helps homeless people in San Francisco.

In 2016, the winner forked over more than $3.4 million to dine with the Berkshire Hathaway CEO, tying the record set by 2012's winner, CNBC reports.

However, Buffett's through doling out stock advice. Though he typically receives a wide range of questions, he says the only subject he won't touch on is what he plans to invest in next.

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