Mark down May 1, for the most remarkable on-line auction of VIP experiences ever

May 1 is this coming Friday and in many countries and territories is a public holiday. But it also marks the start of eight solid days of auctions, handled by Sotheby’s, of some of the most intriguing celebrity-led experiences ever pulled together.

The beneficiary of the monies raised will be the International Rescue Committee whose work in this time of coronavirus was recently called ‘gold standard’ by NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

The experiences can all be viewed online but only through Google Meet who are partnering with Sotheby’s [and hopefully themselves tipping a vast vat of money into the kitty].

A couple of key protections to make you aware of, if you need reassuring:

  • Bidding starts at US$ 50 for each of the experiences;
  • 100% of the proceeds from the auction, including Sotheby’s buyer’s premium, will go to the IRC, specifically their work to mitigate the effects of coronavirus in vulnerable communities;
  • And there are no reserve prices for these items, so you could end up with the celebrity experience of a lifetime at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Just a reminder of how to buy and sell online through Sotheby’s.

Organisers have not released a full rundown of all of the available celebrity experiences; they say new experiences are being added all the time.

But across various online resources we have pulled together a number of the lots already revealed via Rolling Stones and Robb Report:

  • win a chance to record a song with 17-time Grammy Award-winning artist Sting at his home studio in England;
  • or the same as above but with all five members of Manhattan rock band The Strokes;
  • Alternatively film buffs can take an acting lesson with Professor X himself, the legendary actor Sir Patrick Stewart,
  • or test out their comedic chops with none other than Sacha Baron Cohen ‘to chat about anything from writing comedy to regulating the internet’ (say what?);
  • those who are politically inclined can enjoy a coffee with Hillary Clinton or;
  • chew the fat with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright;

Katie Couric examines the extraordinary life of Madeleine Albright, the first woman to be US secretary of state
  • a personal coaching session with personal development guru Tim Ferriss;
  • a private chat with Apollo 9 astronaut Russell ‘Rusty’ Schweickart;

Last year was the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo programme to reach the Moon, and Apollo 9 astronaut Russell ‘Rusty’ L. Schweickart spoke about his extraterrestrial experience, intelligence and humanity’s relationship with machines at a dedication ceremony for a North American F-86H Sabre static display.

  • a highly sophisticated house party with Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, the show’s ‘Earl of Grantham’, Hugh Bonneville and the real-life Earl and Countess of Carnarvon;
  • discussion about the art of living and decorating with renowned interior architect Jacques Grange;
  • and many more, no doubt.

(We understand the list of events will be updated here.)

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Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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