Picasso's sketchbook discovered in deposit box?

James G Murphy Company will auction what it is believed to be Pablo Picasso's sketchbook, after it was discovered in a bank safety deposit box.

Picasso sketchbook
The sketchbook shows similarities to Picasso's work, but buying non-authenticated collectibles is a big risk

The small brown sketchbook is filled with charcoal, watercolour and pencil drawings, mostly nudes, in the style of the distinctive artist. It will sell on November19-20 on behalf of the Washington State Department of Revenue.

Several of the drawings are signed "Picasso", yet no expert has yet been consulted on the sketchbook's authenticity.

"To actually bring in an expert who knows his work and could look at it and say 'yes, absolutely, it's a Picasso' - at this point, we looked into what that would cost and it's in the thousands of dollars," said Washington State Department of Revenue's Kim Schmanke.

"If we're wrong, if we spend taxpayer dollars on authenticating or proving it's not right, then we've actually kind of done a disservice to the taxpayers."

However, the book is likely to sell well under its true value and - should a collector be able to ascertain its authenticity - Picasso's sketches regularly sell upwards of $5,000, making for a worthwhile purchase.

It was discovered in a Washington State bank safety desposit box, with the auction's contents coming from those that had lain dormant for more than five years, or were repossessed due to unpaid charges.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is offering a guaranteed authentic postcard signed by Picasso for sale.

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