Da Vinci Fingerprint Raises $19K Painting's Value to $150 Million
A 500-year-old fingerprint thought to be that of Leonardo da Vinci's has caused the potential value of a painting of a young woman to skyrocket:
"The 13-by-9-inch portrait, which is now being dubbed La Bella Principessa, is a delicate profile of a young aristocratic Milanese woman, drawn with pen, chalk and ink on an animal skin known as vellum. It was bought two years ago by an anonymous Swiss collector at the Ganz Gallery in New York for around $19,000. Experts now put the possible value of the artwork at upwards of $150 million. The potential fingerprint wasn't a total surprise to everyone, though. Alessandro Vezzosi, a noted Da Vinci scholar, stuck out his academic neck last year when he identified the portrait as one of the artist's in his 2008 book, Leonardo Infinito. He based his conclusion on artistic, stylistic and historic considerations. 'There is some embarrassment out there,' said Vezzosi, director of the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in the artist's hometown of Vinci, Italy. 'Just looking at it, you know it isn't German.'"