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He Knew What He Liked

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POTSDAM, Germany: German police have discovered what is believed to be a legendary Russian mosaic in the basement of a German truck driverĺs apartment. The art was part of an ornate 1,300-square-foot hall with walls made of amber in Peter the Great's 18th Century palace. It vanished during World War II, sometime after Nazi troops took it from St. Petersburg to Konigsburg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). While the German government claimed the wall panels were destroyed during the1945 Soviet invasion of Konigsburg, Russian officials charged that Bonn had hidden the treasure. While the fate of the rest of the room remains unknown, this small portion apparently was stolen by a German truck driver in the convoy transporting pieces of the room to Konigsburg. The 22-by-28 inch gold-framed amber mosaic depicting two couples in a lush garden hung for years in his Potsdam apartment until his son, who disliked it, stored the art in the basement. Once the son realized he might have a piece of the Amber Room, he decided to sell it, unfortunately to undercover investigators who were offered the mosaic for $2.5 million. Although Russian officials are already praising the investigators for returning a piece of the room once known as the Eighth Wonder of the World, German officials say they're not yet sure they will give it back.