Art experts are investigating whether a painting discovered during a police raid in Croydon could be a stolen Rembrandt worth many millions of pounds.
The painting was seized in a raid on a shop on Croydon High Street as part of a Proceeds of Crime Act investigation by the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Directorate.
A 62-year-old businessman from Surrey who can not be named for legal reasons was arrested and bailed.
Scotland Yard said: “A man in his sixties was arrested in south London on June 11 in connection with an ongoing Proceeds of Crime Act investigation. He has been bailed to return to a south London police station on a date in July pending further inquiries. A number of items have been seized.”
According to sources quoted by the local Croydon Advertiser police who took away the painting handled it ‘’very carefully’’ and ‘’clearly believed’’ it to be a Rembrandt.
It is not clear whether the officers were specifically searching for the painting in the raid but the painting is now being examined by experts to establish its authenticity.
Although sources told the Advertiser it could be worth £2 million, Richard Ellis, a former detective and founder of Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiquities Squad, was quoted in the Sun as saying: “If it’s a genuine Rembrandt that would be a massive under-valuation. If you auctioned one today it would fetch £30-£50million.”
There are an estimated 205 missing works by Rembrandt. His art attracts huge prices at auction and are well sought after. Prices paid include £20.7 million given by the Getty Museum for The Rape of Europa in 1997 and in December 2009 his Portrait of a Man sold at auction for £29.2 million in Christie’s.