LONDON (AP) - A British collector coughed up $1,500
Wednesday for a handful of smelly brown Tibetan cheese that
is said to be 200 years old.
"I have had a quick sniff of it though and I wouldn't be
surprised if it is even older than 200 years," said Simon
Perry, who will add the hardened ounce of Tibetan cheese
to a collection of several thousand cheeses he keeps in
the cellar of his house.
John Nurden, a spokesman for Perry, described the cheese
as "horrible. It's dark brown. It looks like a dried chestnut,
all shriveled and shrunken."
Perry, host of a children's television show, outbid Pierre
Bruno of ISIGNY, Cheeses of Normandy for an assortment of
Tibetan artifacts that included a prayer wheel and the cheese.
Bruno wanted the cheese for the company's museum, Sotheby's
Sotheby's said they had not authenticated the age of the
cheese, though it came with a label saying "Tibetan cheese
- over 100 years old." Sotheby's said the label is about
100 years old as well.
"I have always loved cheese ever since I was a kid and
started eating cheese triangles (soft cheese wrapped in
triangle-shaped foil packets)," said Perry.
"But I won't be eating this, I imagine it would taste rather
unpleasant and anyway it's too valuable."
The cheese was brought to Britain at the turn of the century
by Henry Martyn Stumbles, who spent three years in Tibet
with the Tibetan Pioneers' Mission, Sotheby's said. It was
sold by Stumbles's son, the auctioneers said.
Sotheby's spokesman Chris Proudlove said it was the first
time the company had sold a piece of food.