Gallery's tapestry could be lost item worth millions

- In an unassuming building located in New York City may lay a treasure unlike any other.

"It's a great find and I'm very pleased to own it," says Ike Hakim, the owner of Persian Gallery. He has been selling tapestries and rugs for almost half a century and knew right away this one was special.

"Very appealing, very detailed, 16th Century," he says.

The gallery bought the tapestry at a New York City auction about 20 years ago. The owner knew it was an amazing piece of artwork but didn't realize it could potentially be priceless until he received a phone call.

"We received an inquiry from this English professor who wanted to see this Julius Caesar tapestry," says Rodney Hakim, the vice president of the gallery.

After the Cambridge professor viewed the tapestry in person, the Hakims learned that the tapestry may be worth tens of millions of dollars.

"We were certain that at some point or another, an important person, an important historical figure did own it, but not Henry the VIII," Rodney says.

Henry the VIII, as in the king of England and main instigator of the Protestant reformation. Historians say Henry VIII likened himself to Caesar. And it is why he commissioned 10 tapestries depicting the Roman emperor, none of which have been seen for hundreds of years. To determine if this tapestry actually hung in Henry VIII's home, it will soon undergo a forensic-type analysis.

"To quote the historian Mary Beard who started the whole process, it's priceless," Rodney says. "But if it is a later-generation copy, a secondary or tertiary copy, could be worth somewhere in the six figures I imagine."

Even with a windfall like that, Ike says he still doesn't plan on retiring anytime soon. But he will take a vacation.

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