Mr Michel, who hopes to acquire it and return it to Hampton Court, said: “The existence of the Henry VIII set is as well documented as it could possibly be.”They are recorded in inventories and also in paintings, but after about 1820 they just disappear to the four winds. Where did they go, how could they possibly have been sold off without anyone knowing?”One possibility is there are frequent references to tapestries being sent for repair or rehanging and perhaps they were never collected.” “When the property of Charles I was inventoried after his execution, these tapestries were the second most valuable thing in the whole of the royal collection.”Made by highly skilled craftsmen, the tapestry took years to design and weave. Each individual piece from the Caesar set was more than 9ft high by 25ft long and, hung end to end, the tapestries measured 86 yards (79 metres). Prof Mary Beard believes she might have stumbled across one of the tapestries in mid-town ManhattanCredit:Clara Molden for The Telegraph The Caesar tapestries, last seen in the background of a watercolour painted in the 19th century, had since mysteriously disappeared and their whereabouts was not known until now.Professor Beard believes she may have stumbled across one of them at Persian Gallery, a shop selling antique carpets in mid-town Manhattan. They were colossally valuable. They were the most prized possessions of the royal householdProfessor Mary Beard If its authenticity is confirmed, the set will be returned to Henry VIII’s former home at Hampton Court Palace, where it was originally displayed.Professor Beard, from the University of Cambridge, found the tapestries during her research into how Roman emperors were depicted in later European art. Roger Michel, director of the Institute of Digital Archaeology, is convinced that the New York tapestry is the original masterpiece, showing Caesar crossing the Rubicon. A priceless 16th century tapestry commissioned by Henry VIII is thought to have been found in a rug shop in New York by Mary Beard, the academic and television presenter.The giant tapestry, which depicts scenes from the life of Julius Caesar, was recognised by Ms Beard after she saw a picture of it while researching on the internet.The set of 10 tapestries were commissioned by King Henry VIII at the height of his power and were said to be one of his greatest treasures.In 1649, more than a century after the Tudor monarch’s death in 1547, the set was valued at £5,022, a vast sum that made it one of the most valuable items in the royal collection. The Caesar tapestries were a key piece of the story of how classical iconography was adopted by monarchs, such as Henry, for their own purposes.Professor Beard told The Times: “I was searching for an image for a lecture and I put ‘Caesar tapestry’ into the search engine and saw it on Google images.” She added: “They were colossally valuable. They were the most prized possessions of the royal household. The 10 tapestries were commissioned by King Henry VIII at the height of his powerCredit:Alamy Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.