Charities use them all the time. You can't go to a benefit dinner without some enticing items on the silent auction table.
What have been some of your best and worst deals there?
Two years ago at a benefit for the Santa Cruz Film Festival, I bought a day backstage with a Santa Cruz filmmaker who worked on Hollywood movies. He called a couple of months later to say there was no good filming being done but said he'd call me when there was.
I've lost his number and I'm guessing he has lost mine because I never got my prize. I hope I can find him.
Recently I bought a flight from here to San Francisco at a benefit for the new Marine Sanctuary Center held by the Rotary from a local car wash owner who owns a plane. I know where to find him. He told me to bring a bottle of whiskey for us to drink, but I think he was kidding.
My best stories were from when I was the music critic at the Mercury News and donated going to a concert with me.
For a school in Menlo Park, I went for $15,000 once and they asked if I would do it for a second bidder, so I did. One of them went to the woman who founded E-Loan. She bought me for her son and she and I became friends. The other went to literary agent Jillian Manus, who gave it to Steve Jobs's wife, who gave it to another charity, but I never heard from anyone to claim the prize.
Jillian, at the same auction, had the jacket Arnold Schwarzenegger wore in Terminator. She was at his house and says she took it from a closet for an auction item. It only went for $7,500, and I wished I'd bought it. Then again, might not be worth so much now.
At another school, I got the highest bid, beating Thomas Kinkade painting a painting for the bidder. The guy who won went to a Who concert with me, came in a limo with bottles of tequila. Later, he kept calling me trying to sell me real estate, which I found out he was trying to dump because he was getting divorced.
But that's another story. I took another couple to see Rush and meet the band backstage. They loved it.
Tell us some of your charity auction stories. Do you always claim your prize? Have you ever not gotten what you bid for? Have you put things up and not had them claimed?
Have you been disapointed or gotten more than you dreamed?
What local charity has the best silent auction items and who is the best auctioneer in Santa Cruz County?