The first of five weekly auctions on eBay starts Friday, and the URL will be linked at www.seattlecoffeegear.com/auction. As of this writing, they were not sure exactly what time it would start.

The first of five weekly auctions on eBay starts Friday, and the URL will be linked at www.seattlecoffeegear.com/auction. As of this writing, they were not sure exactly what time it would start.

The Seattle importer is auctioning Rocket Espresso’s limited edition Giro d’Italia Giotto semi-automatic espresso machines to benefit Coffee Kids, a nonprofit that helps families in coffee-growing communities.

Rocket Espresso of Milan, Italy, made only 100 of these machines, to celebrate 100 years of one of the world’s major cycling races, the Giro d’Italia. U.S. cycling star Lance Armstrong participated for the first time last month in preparation for his upcoming return to the Tour de France. The winner was Denis Menchov of Russia.

The machines have pink manometers (to measure pressure), inspired by the pink jersey worn by Giro d’Italia winners, and are engraved with the names of all the race’s winners. Each machine comes with a copy of the June 1, 2009, edition of the pink Italian daily sports newspaper that started the race, La Gazzetta dello Sport. And like fine art, each piece is numbered.

Kat Oak, head of marketing for Seattle Coffee Gear, says the non-limited edition counterpart to the machine — without the pink features and engraving — retails for $1,799.

COURTESY OF SEATTLE COFFEE GEAR AND ROCKET ESPRESSO