The thrill of the tale adds value to masterpiece discoveries


For art collectors, few events can match the thrill of discovering that the nice artwork you have hanging in your living room was actually produced by a master.

You are now the owner of an artist that few in the world will ever get their hands on.

The value of your "new" masterpiece will of course soar, but there is something about the nature of these discoveries, the excitement of freshly attributed works, that sends the price of such paintings into the stratosphere.

As so often is the case with collectibles, it is the story behind the piece that adds significant sums to its value.

Take the recent discovery of a Michelangelo at an Oxford University hall of residence.

Father Brendan Callaghan, the master of the residence, told the BBC that since it was first suggested the piece could be by the great man "its value… has gone up tenfold, even if it's not by Michelangelo".

These discoveries capture the imagination of the art buying public, ensuring works can far exceed the prices one would expect for similar pieces known about for centuries.

Is this man hiding in your attic?

Salvator Mundi, a depiction of Christ, will be attributed to Leonardo da Vinci when it goes on display at London's National Gallery later in the year.

Experts have decided that the brilliant depiction of a glass sphere in the painting could only have been the work of da Vinci, not one of his circle.

The work, which sold for £45 in 1956, is now estimated to be worth in the region of £120m, a staggering figure, achieved in part thanks to the excitement generated by its discovery.

Of course, those on smaller budgets can also discover a rare work or two on the private markets, although not every piece is a da Vinci in waiting.


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