Celebrity online green sale raises $1 million
By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Australian actor Hugh Jackman has been bested by a Manhattan window dresser -- at least in an online green auction which raised about $1 million for the environment.
Jackman, Christina Aguilera, John McEnroe, David Duchovny and Candice Bergen were among celebrities who donated experiences such as on-set visits, lunches or VIP concert tickets, but the stars were all eclipsed by Barneys New York creative director Simon Doonan, creator of the retail store's legendary holiday season windows.
Bids for Doonan's behind-the-scenes preview of the often-edgy windows and studio tour, lunch and a $5,000 store gift card soared to $60,000, or many times the offering's stated value of $8,000 in the "A Bid to Save the Earth" auction, which ended on Thursday.
By contrast, a day with Jackman on the set of his new film "Real Steel" shooting in Michigan managed $8,000, far less than the $20,000 listed value.
Proceeds totaling about $1 million were earmarked for environmental groups Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Central Park Conservancy and Conservation International.
A live auction at Christie's on Earth Day featured art works, luxury travel and more celebrity experiences such as a round of golf with former President Bill Clinton, raised nearly $2 million including $500,000 in donations made at the event by the well-heeled guests.
Bidders had another two weeks to try for dinner with actress Sigourney Weaver, a private tennis lesson with John McEnroe, art or luxury vacations.
When it concluded, baseball executives trumped beauty queens. Lunch with New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and premium seats at a Yankees home game saw 16 bidders drive the $3,000 package to $9,500. But a $3,000 VIP tour of the Panama Canal with 2002 Miss Universe Justine Pasek peaked at less than half that.
McEnroe's lesson went for $15,000, while "Avatar" star Weaver could take pride that someone deemed dinner and a screening with her worth $5,000, or $2,000 more than the stated value.
A portrait of the Rolling Stones by Los Angeles artist Mr. Brainwash, who specializes in works made from broken records, fetched the top bid of $105,000, well above its $80,000 listed value.
"The message that Christie's, Oceana, NRDC, Conservation International and the Central Park conservancy were trying to convey with this event was simply, there is no more putting off the environment," said actor and host committee member Ted Danson.
"We have to stand up and take notice of the environment and take some action. That is just what this partnership was designed to do."
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