• Switzerland's news in English
Collector leaves million euro artwork on TGV
Art collector leaves a €1 million euro painting on a TGV train. Photo: Marsupilami92/Flickr

Collector leaves million euro artwork on TGV

The Local · 1 Dec 2014, 12:22

Published: 01 Dec 2014 12:22 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Francesco Plateroti had more reason than most to visit the lost property section at a train station.

The Franco-Italian art collector left a 13th century Chinese scroll “Le banquet des immortels à la terrasse de Jade” (“The banquet of immortals on the terrace of Jade”) by Wang Zhenpeng, estimated to be worth around €1 million ($1.25M), on the TGV train he was travelling on on November 21st.

After presenting the work of art, which dates from the Yuan dynasty (1280 - 1329) in the French capital, Plateroti took the high-speed TGV train from Paris to Geneva line and got off at Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, a town close to the border with Switzerland and the final stop before Geneva.

Plateroti, who gives lectures on art around the world, didn’t realize immediately that he didn’t have the scroll with him. By the time a panicked Plateroti noticed that something was missing, the train had already left for Geneva.

“I was crushed when I realized I didn’t have it with me,” Plateroti told The Local. “It was a massive shock".

He immediately alerted staff, who contacted colleagues in Geneva. The train was searched, but unfortunately nothing was found.

All lost property items are sent to a central office in the Swiss city of Berne, but so far no million-euro painting has been handed in.

(The story of Plateroti's misfortune was covered by the Dauphiné Libéré newspaper)

The frustrated collector then took it into his owns hands to try to track down the work of art.

He published a small ad stating he would be willing to pay a reward to whoever returns it to him.

But that hasn't proved to have had the desired effect. 

“People take advantage of my misfortune,” Plateroti told The Local, adding the artwork would "sell for over €1 million at auction".

“They are calling me to say they have the painting and that they will send it once I put the reward money in their bank accounts.

"This all makes having lost the painting a lot worse.”  

While he hasn’t received any good news yet concerning the loss of his prized possession Plateroti still remains hopeful.

“You have to be optimistic,” he said.

Story continues below…

“After all, a positive attitude can overcome many obstacles.”

On the bright side, the painting can’t be sold legally at least, because Plateroti still has the certificate that made it possible to travel with the painting and confirms its authenticity.

by Simone Flückiger

Scientist invents pills to make farts smell like roses


For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available