Top Five Rediscovered Collectibles - gems which should never have been lost After intriguing claims of a rediscovered portrait of Jane Austen, here are our top five re-found collectibles - by Paul Fraser Collectibles
If you're a classic car collector, you'll know that it's important to look after your ride. It must be carefully stored in a good garage and needs maintenance work done.
Or you could just dump it in a lake and see what happens.
That was more the approach of the owner of the 1925, chassis number '2461' Bugatti. Although the circumstances of its dive aren't known, it has been speculated that the owner wanted to get out of paying import duties on the car which would have exceeded its value.
Salvaged after half a century, the rusty classic sold for €260,500 (approx $ today) in January 2010 at Bonhams.
#2 The Framed Declaration
Surely the best ever flea market bargain, a financial analyst from Philadelphia bought a picture for its frame for $4, only to discover a version of the Declaration of Independence slipped behind the picture.
So far, so incredible, but the best was yet to come. It turned out not to be any old antique, but only the 25th known surviving copy of the Dunlap Broadsides. These were 200 manually printed copies, produced hours after the declaration was signed to be sent to the 13 colonies and beyond.
The Declaration sold for $2.4m in 1991.
#1 The Lesser-known Leonardo
In 1998, Jeanne Marchig sold a portrait of a girl in profile at Christie's in New York for $19,000. Of course, that's not an amount of money to be sniffed at, but it's fairly unspectacular in the art world, and the sort of somewhat mediocre price you'd expect for something with the tag 'German school, early 19th century'.
Since then, however, the painting has become the focus of considerable intrigue and dispute, following Martin Kemp's claim that the work is in fact by one of the most famous artists in history, Leonardo da Vinci.
Kemp's ideas seemed to be confirmed not simply by artistic judgment, but by the trace of a fingerprint, which has been left level with the browline of the subject, and matches a fingerprint on another da Vinci work - one which he is likely to have created alone.
Carbon dating also confirms that the age of the painting is of the right time period. Whilst it still hasn't been confirmed beyond dispute, the case for the painting has remained strong since Kemp's intervention, and if true the work could be worth up to $100m.
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