Losing a treasured item can leave you feeling sick, so spare a thought for Francesco Plateroti.
The art collector from Italy left a 13th century piece by Chinese painter Wang Zhenpeng called The Banquet of Immortals on the Terrace of Jade on a high speed TGV train from Paris to Geneva.
Mr Plateroti got off the train in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, a French town close to the Swiss border, before realising the artwork – worth €1million (£800,000) – was still in his briefcase in the carriage.
Train: An art collector left a 13th century piece on a high speed TGV service (file photo) from Paris to Geneva
He alerted staff who searched the train upon its arrival at the next stop of Geneva last month, but nothing was found, and Mr Plateroti is now offering a reward for the safe return of the painting.
He said that despite the painting’s high value it was unsaleable without the cultural certificate of authenticity he still had in his possession. He had been showing the work at an exhibition in Paris.
Mr Plateroti told The Local journalist Simone Flückiger: ‘I was crushed when I realised I didn’t have it with me. It was a massive shock. People take advantage of my misfortune.
‘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.’
Station: Mr Plateroti got off the train in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, a French town close to the Swiss border
But he said: ‘You have to be optimistic. After all, a positive attitude can overcome many obstacles.’
All lost property items on the TGV are sent to a central office in Berne, Swizerland. But there has been no sign yet of the painting, which dates from the Yuan dynasty of 1280 to 1329.
Mr Plateroti added: ‘Anyone who finds and returns this will be well compensated. I am hopeful that I will have it back soon.’
The collector had been travelling on the 9789 TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) train from Paris to Geneva on November 21, which left the French capital at 8.11pm local time (7.11pm GMT).