Detail of a self portrait etching by Rembrandt that went missing in Melbourne. A Norwegian museum has lost an etching it bought from a British dealer and had sent by mail. (Reuters)

A Norwegian art gallery has lost a Rembrandt van Rijn etching valued at $8,600 after putting it in the mail to save money on courier and insurance costs, according to Reuters.

The gallery was expecting a copy of  the Dutch master’s sketch Lieven Willemsz, van Coppenol, Writing-Master purchased from a British dealer, when it went missing.

Ole Derje, chairman of the Soli Brug Gallery in Greaaker, about 80 km south of Oslo, said the gallery regularly sends works by mail.

"Using a courier or special insurance is quite expensive so we have used regular mail until now," he said Thursday.

Derje said he received a notice to pick up the package, but when he went to pick it up, the postal service couldn’t find it.

The Norwegian mail service apologized and offered compensation of about $170. It also recommended the gallery choose a service with appropriate insurance.