Berkshire Hathaway 2017 Annual Meeting Audience Question # 12

Warren sold his used Cadillac for charity

Warren Buffett:

In any event, we will now go to station 4. And if the person yelling… are we up there in station… are you on station 4?

Audience Member:

Yes, Dr. Bruce Hertz from Glenview, Illinois. I wanted to thank you for allowing me to attend. I feel both honored and blessed.

My question for Mr. Buffett is, you’ve always advised us to purchase equities that appreciate in value. Yet a few years ago you sold your used Cadillac at a tremendous profit.

How can you justify selling a depreciating asset for a significant profit? Thank you.

Warren Buffett:

Yeah, well… actually I gave it to Girls Inc. And they sold it. And it was kind of an interesting…

A very nice guy bought it for a hundred and some thousand dollars. And I did not… and Girls Inc. got the money. And he got in the… he came later, actually, with his family.

And he drove it away without any plates. He was driving back to New York. And he got picked up by the police… in Illinois. And he said, “Well”… he started giving this explanation about how he’d given this money to Girls Inc. and was driving the car back. And he had this nice looking family with him.

And the cops were quite skeptical. But fortunately, I’d signed the dashboard for him as part of the deal when he… and so they looked at that. And then they just said, “Well, did he give you any stock tips?” And they let him go.

I can’t recall ever selling a used car at a profit. But we… I don’t think I’ve sold any personal possession. Well, I’ve got a house for sale.

Charlie Munger:

You don’t have any personal possessions.

Warren Buffett:

Yeah. No, I… anything you see with a figure attached like that…

Charlie Munger:

You’re a fatter version of Mahatmas Gandhi… Mahatma Gandhi.

Warren Buffett:

The guy was a very nice guy that bought it. And, you know, his check cleared. So we were fine.

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