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

auctioneers said.

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.