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Friday, 1 December, 2000, 16:08 GMT
Mystery woman finds hidden Hirst
Secret
The art postcards were by college students and famous artists
An unnamed woman has paid 35 for an art postcard by Damien Hirst that could be worth thousands of pounds.

The woman bought the postcard at the Royal College of Art's (RCA) Secrets 2000 exhibition, where it was one of 1,541 unsigned cards, all for sale at the same price.


Our advice would have been to hang on to her purchase

Emily Sargent

She discovered that the postcard, a pink sketch of dog mess covered with flies, was by British artist Damien Hirst only after she bought the card.

Other purchasers walked off with art by David Bowie, artists Terry Frost and Tracey Emin, and Oscar-winning animator Nick Park.

Hundreds of people queued outside the RCA in London on Thursday to see if they would grab a genuine work of art for a small price or the work of one of the college's students.

The painters' names were revealed on the back of the cards after they had been bought.

'Gobsmacked'

The mystery woman was told by curators she had "found" the Damien Hirst work after she had bought exhibit 125.

She is reported to have said: "I am absolutely gobsmacked. My boyfriend has been painting things like this and I bought it."

The woman left the college with piece of artwork without giving interviews or her name to curators.

Emily Sargent, the college's exhibition curator, said: "Our advice would have been to hang on to her purchase even though an instant sale would bring her thousands of pounds.

"That goes for those who have bought postcards by Terry Frost, Chris Ofili and Tracey Emin."

Two of the more easily identified postcards were by Chicken Run animator Nick Park.

He sketched Shaun the Sheep and a malevolent penguin, both of which feature in his Wallace and Gromit series of animations.

A spokeswoman for the RCA told BC News Online: "It has been phenomenal. We had 600 people queueing outside before we opened the doors."

Only a few hundreds of the postcards are left.

See also:

28 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Photographer wins Turner Prize
22 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Art show hides small fortune
13 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Emin airs her dirty linen
25 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Bowie's double net honour
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