Norwegian gallery loses a Rembrandt in the mail

A Norwegian art gallery lost a Rembrandt etching worth up to $US8,600 in the mail after trying to save money on courier and insurance costs, the gallery's chief said.

The Soli Brug Gallery in Greaaker, about 80 kilometres south of Oslo, purchased a copy of Rembrandt's 'Lieven Willemsz, van Coppenol, Writing-Master' made in around 1658 from a British dealer, only to have it lost in the Norwegian postal system.

"Using a courier or special insurance is quite expensive so we have used regular mail until now," Ole Derje, the gallery's chairman said.

"It is worth around 40,000 to 50,000 crowns ($6,900-$8,600) and the postal service is offering us compensation of 500-1,000 crowns."

Derje said his gallery, which is displaying works by Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya, Munch and Dali, received notice to pick up the package but when he went to collect it, it was nowhere to be found.

Derje declined to name the seller, citing confidentiality concerns.

"We are sorry that this has happened; we have advised him to use a more appropriate form of mail when sending items that are worth as much as this with the appropriate insurance connected," said Hilde Ebeltoft-Skaugrud, a spokesman for the postal service.

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