BLOOMFIELD - An observant buyer at a Bloomfield auction house realized that a painting simply billed as an "oil-on-board" was possibly an early Rembrandt, and paid a pretty penny for the piece.

John Nye, of Nye & Company Auctioneers and Appraisers, says he is still reeling over the find, which he originally appraised for only $500 to $800. At auction, the painting greatly inflated in price, eventually selling for just under $1.1 million.

Nine times a year, Nye & Company auctions off hundreds of items, many of which come from people's homes. The company says it has never sold an item for more than $1 million.

The painting, acquired from an estate sale of a family in Essex County, is now considered to be a rediscovered masterpiece. Until its discovery, the whereabouts of the painting were unknown.

Nye says it is unusual to be able to identify pieces of art that may be as old as the 17th century.

The new European owner of the painting has not been named.