A revolver believed used by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh to kill himself has sold for about US$146,000 ($223,000) at an auction in Paris.

An individual buyer whose name was not released bought the 7mm pocket revolver for €130,000 plus taxes today.

The weapon was discovered in the 1960s in fields in the northern French village of Auvers-sur-Oise. Van Gogh is widely believed to have shot himself in the chest there in 1890.

The family of former owners of the inn where the painter died two days later decided to sell the revolver after it was featured in a 2016 exhibit at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum that charted his descent into mental illness.

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Van Gogh's suicide was questioned in a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors who concluded he was fatally shot by two teenagers.

- AP