Panel painting of the Madonna and Child – €250,000 (£215,520) at Lempertz.

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At the sale on March 20, the bidders had a major surprise in store for the auctioneers and the consignor, a French collector.

A 20 x 14in (51 x 35cm) panel Madonna and Child was catalogued as the work of an Italian master, probably early 16th century.

In the run-up to the sale there was plenty of interest and on auction day numerous bidders from home and abroad waved their paddles, pushing the bidding into six figures and ever upwards until an international collector saw off competitors at €250,000 (£215,520).

It is not known which artist they thought had created the painting, but were obviously not alone in their suspicion.

£1 = €1.16