Berlin student finds baroque painting inside old sofa

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BERLIN, Oct 31 (Reuters) A Berlin student who bought a second-hand sofa bed at a flea market learned she had been sitting on a small fortune when she found a baroque painting hidden inside the couch.

The artwork fetched 19,200 euros (27,660 dollars) in Hamburg after the student discovered it stashed between the folding sections of the couch she had paid 150 euros for last year, the auctioneers said yesterday.

''She used the sofa bed for a while before realising the painting was in there,'' said Michaela Derra, spokeswoman for the auction house Ketterer Kunst, adding she did not know how the oil painting had wound up inside the sofa.

The student got about 16,000 euros from the sale.

Experts believe the work, entitled ''Preparations for the flight to Egypt'', was painted between 1605 and 1610 by an unknown artist with ties to Venetian painter Carlo Saraceni.

REUTERS SYU HS0900

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