HOW much would you pay for a guitar plucked by the legendary Bono? £10,000? As much as £100,000? How would you feel about £150,000 — the amount one London fan was willing to part with when the rare opportunity arose.
The hefty fee was readily handed over for the piece of musical history, donated by the U2 frontman to his buddy Brian O’Driscoll for auction at the sporting hero’s testimonial dinner held in London at a Mayfair hotel.
But the six-figure sum paid for the evergreen instrument — named ‘Bono’s Irish Falcon’ — was just one of scores of recession- defying fees paid on the evening,which was attended by more than 800 people and included the likes of Prince William and actor Michael Fassbender among guests.
The big spenders came ready to splurge at the unique event, which offered a range of high-end auction items.
They couldn’t hold themselves back when the ‘once-in-alifetime’ opportunity to meet teen idol, One Direction’s Niall Horan, presented itself.
For a cool £40,000 — roughly the cost of putting a young person through university — four people bought the chance to meet the singer before his boyband’s London gig this week.
The lot came with just one proviso: “The length of the meet and greet cannot be guaranteed.”
But the much-loved O’Driscoll, on the other hand, donated a whole day of his time for the auction. Bidders were encouraged to “create your own incredible 24 hours with BOD, whether it is golf in Portugal, wine tasting in Italy, casino in Monte Carlo, dinner in your own home or even an appearance at a special event to surprise a loved one”. The price? A handsome £45,000 was coughed up for the privilege.
Elsewhere, a p r e s e n t a t i o n frame containing a jersey worn by O’Driscoll during each of the former captain’s games in Ireland’s epic Six Nations Grand Slam fetched £35,000.
As well as a meeting Horan and owning one of Bono’s guitars, music-lovers had the chance to bid on a “Gigtastic” package.
This musical extravaganza included two tickets to almost every headline gig planned in Britain this year — from Bruce Springsteen to Beyoncé and The Who — as well as VIP camping at all of the country’s major music festivals, for which a furious bidding war saw the price escalate quickly before landing on £24,000.
Though few were apparent, the more modest spenders in attendance at the Grosvenor House Hotel event had a smaller range in their options on the night, settling for the lots which sold for £15,000.
They too were not to be quaffed at and included private hospitality with Sir Alex Ferguson in Old Trafford, the chance to spend the Irish Open with Rory McIlroy and a tour around India.
Brian O’Driscoll Testimonial organisers have since confirmed that a ‘substantial’ sum from the money raised through the auction will be donated to the IRFU Charitable Trust, the rugby star’s charity of choice.