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Spanish Police Recover Stolen Masterpieces

MADRID (AP).- Spanish investigators have recovered stolen masterpieces by two of the country's most revered artists: Goya and El Greco, a police statement said Friday.

The oil on canvas works, Goya's 18th-century "The Apparition of the Virgin of Pilar" and el Greco's 16th-century "The Annunciation," were stolen 14 years ago after an exhibition tour.

Works by these painters are highly valued and most are kept in museums such as Madrid's Prado. However, these two were privately owned when stolen.

In October, police received tips that eventually led to a private house near the southeastern city of Alicante where the works were being kept, the statement said. It did not identify the exact address.

Paintings by such old masters are hard to value because few go on sale, but in 2004 "The Baptism of Christ," an early oil-on-wood portable altarpiece by El Greco, was auctioned at Christie's in London for 789,250 pounds ($1,449,063).

Goya's "Still life of dead hares" went under the hammer a year earlier at Christie's for around $5 million.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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