MayDay: Covid-19 Charity Auction 1–8 May 2020 • 2:00 PM EDT • New York

W ith the importance of joining forces more apparent than ever, Sotheby’s has partnered with Google to support the International Rescue Committee with a unique fundraising effort to support those impacted hardest by the spread of COVID-19.

“Sotheby’s has a long tradition of supporting charitable organizations in times of need. We are proud to bring our centuries of experience and the power of our online auctions to bear against the impact of COVID-19. With the partnership of Google and so many leading figures who have pledged to support this unique venture, we hope to be able to deliver meaningful resources for the extraordinary efforts of the International Rescue Committee, needed now more than ever.”
Charles F. Stewart, CEO of Sotheby’s

An online auction of incredible, exclusive and most importantly – virtual – experiences will offer bidders the opportunity to converse with some of the most fascinating names in music, politics, science, culture and sport.

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"I am honoured to be part of this unique virtual venture with Sotheby’s and Google in aid of the International Rescue Committee. I hope all of the experiences offered will provide a bit of a 'lockdown-lift' to the winning bidders, and make a difference to the hugely important work of the IRC in its efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 in vulnerable communities."
- Geraint Thomas

From coffee with Hillary Clinton to a private call with a real astronaut, these exceptional experiences will all take place via video call, proving that distance is no barrier to uniting for a good cause.

Left to Right: Hillary Rodham Clinton (Photo credit: Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton); Madeleine Albright (PHOTO CREDIT: LAUREN BULBIN)

For those looking for compelling conversation, who better to quiz about global current affairs than the trailblazing Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State, who has offered to share a virtual coffee break with bidders.

A Conversation with Apollo 9 Astronaut Russell "Rusty" Schweickart
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Perhaps you would rather discuss musical influences and inspirations with seminal New York garage rockers, The Strokes, receive decorating tips from renowned interior designer Jacques Grange or take a Shakespearean acting class with Sir Patrick Stewart?

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With the online sale taking place from 1–8 May, all lots will be offered without a reserve and are transferable and shareable, meaning winning bidders could enjoy the experience themselves or share it with someone else who would benefit from a boost in these difficult times.


Find out the difference the funds raised will really make over a virtual conversation with David Miliband, former British Foreign Secretary and President of the International Rescue Committee, which is working so hard to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

David Miliband on the Importance of Collaboration in the Covid-19 Crisis
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“As a global community we are only as strong as the weakest link in the chain and millions of refugees and displaced people are now facing a double emergency with the virus reaching their communities. With those most vulnerable in need of all the help that we can give, we would like to thank Sotheby’s, Google and all the luminaries who have agreed to participate and donate their time for this auction in support of IRC’s front-line efforts to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in vulnerable communities around the world.”
David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee

Other lots in this exceptional sale include a chance to record a song with with renowned singer and musician Sting, a private video call with Apollo 9 astronaut, Russell Schweikart, and a highly sophisticated house party with Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, the show’s ‘Earl of Grantham’, Hugh Bonneville and the real-life Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.

Left to Right: Sting (PHOTO CREDIT: ERIC RYAN ANDERSON); Sacha Baron Cohen (Photo Credit: Getty Images).

Further lots will also be announced, offering unprecedented access to the likes of entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, designer Sir Paul Smith and British artist and sculptor Marc Quinn.

Unique Experiences to Share or Donate

S everal of the experiences offered in the sale can be ‘attended’ by a group, so although we may be physically separated from friends and loved ones, there is the chance to share one of these extraordinary events with those closest to you – even if they are currently distanced from you, whether in the same city or on the other side of the world.

"I hope that engaging in conversation with successful bidders will be an enjoyable experience for all concerned, allowing me to draw on 40 years in journalism latterly as editor of the FT when I interviewed many world leaders including US Presidents Trump and Obama, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and President Rouhani of Iran."
Lionel Barber

Similarly, choosing the perfect gift for a milestone birthday or anniversary can be tricky at the best of times, but under the lockdown safety measures achieving this from home is now even harder. Grouping together with friends can help you to place the winning bid on an evening that you will never forget, whether a styling session with Sir Paul Smith or learning how to cook the perfect steak with Heston Blumenthal, all whilst helping to tackle the most challenging health emergency of our times. If you wish, these experiences can also be donated to healthcare professionals and other front-line workers as a thank you for their tireless efforts and dedication during the crisis.

Experiences like this are rare, and it is not often one would be able to gift recording a song with Sting to the music-obsessed person in your life, or an intimate and inspiring conversation about life in space with astronaut Rusty Schweickart for a space-crazy kid with a budding passion for science. At this time, sharing is key – and it is this very ethos that underpins the MayDay: Covid-19 Charity Auction. There is power in numbers, so explore the lots, gather your friends and register to bid on one of these memorable evenings.

100% of the proceeds will be donated to the IRC by the experience providers. Buyer’s Premium will be charged on all lots and 100% will be donated by Sotheby’s to the IRC.

Funds raised from the auction will support the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in their efforts to mitigate and respond to the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak within vulnerable communities in the United States and across Europe. From distributing meals in New York City to translating public health guidance into numerous languages for communities across Europe, the IRC response is built on years of experience in supporting people affected by conflict, crisis, and disaster in over 40 countries around the globe, and providing aid to the most vulnerable populations that are always impacted the hardest when a crisis happens.

The experiences can be enjoyed virtually via Google Meet video calls during this period of lockdown. Google Meet provides premium video conferencing built on Google’s robust and secure global infrastructure.

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