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Raphael drawing fetches record price

December 13, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ A private collector paid $8.6 million for a Raphael chalk sketch Friday, a record price for an Old Master drawing.

The anonymous buyer bid by telephone for ``Study for the Head and Hand of an Apostle,″ a sketch of St. John the Evangelist executed in preparation for ``The Transfiguration,″ considered the Italian Renaissance master’s last great painting.

The seller insisted on remaining anonymous, a spokeswoman at Christie’s auction house said.

The drawing, which once belonged to the Duke of Devonshire, is so valuable that Christie’s experts refused to give an estimate before the sale.

The last record for an Old Master drawing was set in July 1993, when a Michelangelo chalk sketch of the Holy Family on the flight into Egypt sold for $6.1 million, Christie’s said.

``Study for the Head and Hand of an Apostle″ shows the head and left hand of St. John, drawn in black chalk.

``The Transfiguration,″ which shows Christ transfigured as the deity while his apostles sleep, hangs in the Vatican Museum.