German police have issued an appeal for information after two valuable 17th Century paintings were discovered dumped in a road-side skip, the BBC reports.

The oil paintings are believed to be by Dutch artist Samuel van Hoogstraten and Italian Pietro Bellotti, police said.

A man found the paintings at a motorway service station on the A7 south of Würzburg in Bavaria last month.

He handed them in to police in the city of Cologne. No one has yet claimed the artworks.

An initial assessment by an art expert concluded the two framed paintings were originals, police said.

One is a portrait of a boy wearing a red hat with an unknown date. Police say it was painted by Samuel van Hoogstraten, a painter and writer who lived in the Netherlands between 1627 and 1678.

The other is a smiling self-portrait by Pietro Bellotti, a lesser-known Italian painter who lived from 1625 to 1700.

Police in Cologne are appealing for anyone who recognizes the artworks or who knows how they ended up in the skip to come forward.


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