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Great Moments: Dinner of the Century

A Parisian Night
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Ron Perelman, Spring 95

(continued from page 1)

The final lot, called the King's Ransom, consisted of six boxes, two each of the evening's special cigars. The opening bid finally silenced the room for a few seconds: $50,000. In $10,000 increments, the bidding quickly topped $100,000. By that time, only two bidders were left. The guests stood up on chairs to get a better view of the bidders. The two men kept upping the ante; at $150,000, one bidder seemed about to drop out, but just before the gavel hit, he again upped the price by $10,000. After that, the bidding continued in a room that alternated between silence and hoorays as each new bid was made. At $180,000, Shanken upped the asking bid to $200,000. That's where the gavel finally came down—$200,000, or more than $700 per cigar in the lot. The total proceeds of the auction came to $324,000.

The evening was hardly over. Although it was after 1 a.m., small groups of men and women sat or stood or walked around talking with each other or enjoying a final quiet smoke with a glass of Cognac. By the time the restaurant emptied out at 2:30, there was little left to do except smile and wonder whether the 1995 Dinner of the Century, to be held in London, could top the evening in Paris.

The next morning, the guests dispersed to the four corners of the world, taking their limousines out to Charles DeGaulle airport to catch flights for Hong Kong, Mexico, the Middle East, North America and all across Europe.

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