Old master painting goes missing from London auction house

An old master painting worth 500,000 pounds (US$895,000 or Ђ728,000) has gone missing from &to=http://english.pravda.ru/culture/2002/11/20/39707.html' target=_blank>Sotheby's auction house in London, officials said Wednesday.

The painting went missing from the auction house's London headquarters, where it was being held in a storeroom.

The auction house declined to provide further details about the painting or when it went missing.

A spokesman for the auction house, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with company policy, said the painting's owner has been informed and efforts are being made to recover it.

"We have consulted the police but we cannot report it as stolen until we know it has been stolen. We are conducting an internal investigation," the spokesman said.

"I cannot remember anything like this happening at Sotheby's before and we are doing everything we can to establish what has happened."