Nov 22, 2008

World - Quickie Buffett Portrait Sells for $100,000 on EBay

Philip Boroff

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- A portrait of Warren Buffett painted in 10 minutes sold for $100,000 to a Minneapolis executive in an eBay Inc. auction.

John L. Morgan, chief executive officer of Winmark Corp., spent $215,000 in 1999 for a stock tip from Buffett, listed as the richest American by Forbes magazine. Morgan made both purchases to benefit Girls Inc. of Omaha, a nonprofit co-founded by Buffett's first wife, Susan, who died in 2004.

Performance artist Michael Israel painted the portrait in May outside the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska, before the annual meeting of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The artist later touched it up and signed it, as did Buffett himself.

``We're thrilled with the $100,000,'' said Roberta Wilhelm, executive director of Girls Inc. of Omaha. ``We debated not putting it up for auction. The economy is tanking and everyone is scrambling.''

Girls Inc. presents after-school and summer programs for girls 5 to 18 years old. Susan Buffett co-founded it in 1975 as Omaha Girls Club, in the basement of Clifton Hills Presbyterian Church. Susie A. Buffett, the daughter of Warren and Susan Buffett, today serves on the boards of both Girls Inc. and the local branch.

Stock Tip

Morgan, whose company sells franchises in businesses such as Play It Again Sports and Plato's Closet, describes himself as a longtime Berkshire shareholder who is an admirer of Buffett and Girls Inc.

Although Morgan declined to disclose the stock tip he bought from Buffett, the Wall Street Journal reported in 1999 that it was for First Industrial Realty Trust, a Chicago-based real- estate investment trust. Morgan said he sold the stock Buffett recommended for a profit.

``It was a very successful tip,'' he said.

No comments: