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Missing J.M.W. Turner's painting sold at auction

J.M.W. Turner's watercolour thought to have been lost, was sold at auction to a U.S. collector for nearly 3 million pounds (US$6million, 4.12million EUR).

The painting, called Bamborough Castle, depicts a picturesque stretch of the northeastern English coast and was last publicly exhibited in 1889.

Auction house Sotheby's said frantic phone bidding during a sale Wednesday by four potential buyers drove the cost up to nearly double a pre-sale estimate.

The buyer, a private U.S. collector, paid 2,932,500 pounds (US$5,998,253 4,121,377.63 EUR) for the work.

In the foreground of the painting, a woman and girl shield themselves from large rolling waves, while a ship attempts to reach shore under dark storm clouds.

"This watercolor fully demonstrates the genius of Turner," said Henry Wemyss, head of British watercolors at Sotheby's.

The painting had been owned by the Vanderbilt family, whose 19th Century shipping and railroad empire made them one of the wealthiest families in the world.