One of the biggest truffles found in half a century -- a 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) specimen unearthed in Italy late last month -- has sold for $330,000 at an auction held simultaneously in Macau, London and Florence.
The giant fungus was presented on a silver platter by an Italian chef flanked by Chinese models to the flash of cameras ahead of the auction at Macau's Grand Lisboa Hotel.
The winning bid on Saturday night came from Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho, bidding by phone via his partner Angela Leong, who was on stage with the auctioneer.
The South China Morning Post said Ho beat British artist Damien Hirst and Sheik Mansoor Bin Zayed al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi for the prized fungus.
Proceeds from the auction were donated to charities including the Caritas in China, Consortium for Street Children in the UK, and the Telethon in Italy.
The giant truffle, and one of about the same size sold to a Hong Kong bidder last year, were the largest found since a 2.5 kg truffle was found in 1954 and presented to former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower.