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Buffett-Signed Copy of ‘Intelligent Investor’ Sells for $25,250

A book on investing that is the only first-edition signed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett sold at auction yesterday for $25,250 in San Francisco.

Mitch Julis, founding partner of Canyon Partners LLC in Los Angeles, bought the copy of Benjamin Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor,” signed by Buffett, Graham’s former protege. It listed for $3.50 when it was published in 1949.

“It’s something tangible you give to your kids if they are ever interested in investing,” Julis said. “It’s a show-and-tell story.”

The book helped pioneer the concept of value investing and provided a road map for Buffett, who invested in out-of-favor stocks to become the third-richest man in the world. Buffett attended Graham’s Columbia University classes and worked for him at Graham-Newman Corp., a New York-based investment fund that closed in the late 1950s.

“I read the first edition of this book early in 1950, when I was 19,” Buffett wrote in the preface to the fourth edition of the book in 1973. “I thought then that it was by far the best book about investing ever written. I still think it is.”

Buffett signed the copy after Patrick Wolff, co-founder of the San Francisco-based Excellence in Investing for Children’s Causes Foundation, requested his help. For more than a decade, Wolff, a chess grandmaster, has simultaneously played multiple exhibition games blindfolded at Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

“Warren told me he doesn’t remember ever signing a first edition of this book before so I take that as prima facie evidence that this is the only one,” said Wolff, who is also an executive at Clarium Capital Management LLC in San Francisco. Carrie Kizer, Buffett’s assistant, confirmed Wolff’s account.

Negotiating Price Down

The foundation bought the book for a price it won’t disclose after negotiating it down from $25,000 from New York-based B & B Rare Books Ltd., said Wolff, who personally owns Berkshire shares. The proceeds of the auction will be donated by the foundation to organizations including Oakland, California-based Leadership Public Schools, which prepares children from low-income urban neighborhoods for college.

Buffett, 80, is worth an estimated $45 billion, according to Forbes magazine. He built a stock portfolio valued at almost $55 billion as of June 30. Berkshire is the largest investor in such companies as Wells Fargo & Co., American Express Co. and Coca-Cola Co.

Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and chief executive officer, has promised almost all his wealth to philanthropy. He plans to add a personal inscription to his signature in the copy of “The Intelligent Investor” that Julis bought, auction organizers said.

Graham, who also co-wrote “Security Analysis,” died at 82 in 1976. “Intelligent Investor” is currently available from HarperCollins Publishers as a revision to the fourth edition.

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