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Rembrandt masterpiece reaches record price
LONDON, England -- A Rembrandt masterpiece has fetched a record $28.7 million (£19.8 million) at auction.
The 17th century oil painting, entitled Portrait of a Lady, was sold at auction on Wednesday by Christie's in London.
It went to a buyer, believed to be a London art trader, after just a few minutes frenetic bidding which saw the price rocket.
It had been expected to go for between $5.8 million and $8.7 million (£4 million and £6 million).
A Christie's spokeswoman told CNN.com: "This is the second highest price ever paid for an Old Master and the highest price ever paid for a Rembrandt.
"We can't say anything about the sale, other than it was for £19.8 million and was sold in the room to European trade."
The oval portrait features an unidentified woman wearing a black costume with a cap and collar.
It dates to Rembrandt's early career in Amsterdam and is signed and dated 1632.
The painting formed part of a sale of the collection of the late Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild.
The previous record for one of Rembrandt's paintings was $9 million (£6.27 million) for the Portrait of a Bearded Man in a Red Coat, which was sold at Sotheby's in New York in 1998.
The 105-piece Rothschild collection also includes a Canaletto painting, worth $5.8 million (£4 million), and an El Greco work worth $2.2 million (£1.5 million).
A Christie's spokesman said: "The collection comprises magnificent Old Master pictures, led by a Rembrandt masterpiece, Islamic and Venetian glass as well as other decorative objects and porcelain, including a superb group of Renaissance style jewellery."
The auction is taking place over two days and is billed as major highlight of the international sales calendar this autumn.
Lord Hindlip, chairman of Christie's, said: "The Rothschild name is synonymous with the very best and broadest collecting and the appearance of these works, led by a particularly important group of Old Master paintings, marks a significant auction event."
Modern art sale grosses nearly $73 million at Christie's
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