In one of the more ill-conceived money-saving efforts in recent memory, a Norwegian art gallery lost a Rembrandt etching after sending it by regular mail in a bid to cut courier and insurance costs.
The Soli Brug Gallery in Greaaker, about 50 miles south of Oslo, purchased a copy of Rembrandt’s work titled “Lieven Willemsz, van Coppenol, Writing-Master,” valued at as much at $8,600, from a British dealer.
However, the 1658 work was lost by the Norwegian postal system.
“Using a courier or special insurance is quite expensive so we have used regular mail until now,” said Ole Derje, the gallery’s chairman.
Adding insult to injury, the Norwegian postal service is offering the gallery less than $600 as compensation for its loss, according to the BBC.
Derje said his gallery, which displays works by Rembrandt, Goya, Munch and Dali, received notice to pick up the package but when he went to collect it, it was nowhere to be found, the BBC reported.
In an indication that postal officials worldwide appear to deficient in basic public relations skills, a spokeswoman for the Norwegian service said the service, while saying the service regretted the loss, let the gallery know it was at least partly to blame.
“We are sorry that this has happened; we have advised him to use a more appropriate form of mail when sending items that are worth as much as this with the appropriate insurance connected,” said Hilde Ebeltoft-Skaugrud.
(Above: “Lieven Willemsz, van Coppenol, Wiriting-Master,” Rembrandt, 1658. Image credit: www.rembrandtonline.org)