Salisbury Antiques Centre sold an 18th century oil painting of a young girl holding a duck to a buyer on the phone for £10,000.
The credit card used to pay was issued by a Taiwanese bank and had no address linked to it.
The buyer gave a “plausible explanation” regarding the card and his address and the painting was delivered by taxi, first to an address in Potters Bar in Hertfordshire, and then re-directed to an address in Pinner, Middlesex.
Prior to the scam being uncovered, two men approached a dealer in Ruislip, west London, offering the painting for £8000 and claiming it had been left to them by their grandparents.
The Ruislip dealer discovered it was being offered online by Salisbury Antiques Centre and contacted the centre. Salisbury Antiques then checked with the bank and discovered the credit card transaction was fraudulent. It reported the theft to the Hertfordshire Police and the Metropolitan Police and has since been made aware of other dealers who have been targeted by a similar scam.
The trade is urged to be alert to scams of this nature and report to the police if they are offered this painting.
Anyone with information of this or of a similar incident should contact Action Fraud on 03001232040.