Warren Buffett lunch bids already topping $1.5 million

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Double-dip recession or not, people will still pay any price to have lunch with Warren Buffett.

The annual charity auction for lunch with the legendary 80-year-old investor began Sunday night, and by Monday morning bids already topped $1.5 million. The five bids placed thus far have come from two anonymous bidders.

Last year's winner paid $2.63 million for the right to dine with Buffett at the Manhattan steakhouse Smith & Wollensky. The price nearly tripled in the last day, as nine qualified bidders made 77 bids.

Proceeds of the auction benefit the San Francisco charity GLIDE, which runs programs including meals and healthcare for the poor and homeless.

Buffett, CEO of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway and often called the "Oracle of Omaha," was introduced to GLIDE by his late first wife Susan.

The auction began at 10:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday and runs through the same time this Friday. Bidders can qualify and bid through the website www.LunchWithWarrenBuffett.com.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz, editing by Maureen Bavdek)