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Monster truffle up for auction

Weighing in at 900 grammes, the truffle is not a record breaker but is still expected to fetch thousands of dollars at the auction, which will take place simultaneously in Rome, Moscow, Macao and London via satellite link-up.

David and Victoria Beckham are expected to be among celebrity bidders, but observers say the auction of the maxi-truffle is likely to come down to a two-man tussle, for the third year running, between Chinese business magnate Stanley Ho and Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirates race horse enthusiast and power behind Manchester City Football Club.

A couple of unidentified Russian billionaires are also tipped to get in on the action.

Two years ago Ho set the world record price for a single truffle, forking out $330,000 for a Tuscan truffle weighing 1.5 kg - one of the largest truffles found in the last 50 years.

Last year he landed the prize again, paying $200,000 for a 1.08 kg specimen dug up in the southern Italian region of Molise. The giant truffle on sale at Saturday's auction again comes from Molise. The auction, explained organiser Giselle Oberti, is aimed at showcasing tubers found across the country rather than in the more famous truffle regions of Piedmont and Tuscany.

by S. C.
13 december 2009, World News > Italy