A $3 painting sells for $190,000 at auction

Anderson, 8 March 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA).

The WIS webpage, a local television channel broadcasted in South Carolina, published on 6 March 2012 a report about an 81 year old former antique dealer. This man, who wishes to remain anonymous, made what turned out to be an exceptionally good investment by selling at auction for $190,000 (€144,300) a painting bought for $3 eighteen months previously at Goodwill, a network of charity shops.

According to his account, the man thought he had got a good bargain worth a few hundred dollars, an estimate made by comparing this oil on wood painting with similar paintings sold on e-bay. His stepdaughter undertook a valuation of the work as part of the TV show Antiques Roadshow broadcasted on the PBS public television network. The painting was then identified as a still life proper of the Flemish school, attributed to a workshop from Amsterdam, dated about 1650 and valued between $10,000 and $30,000. As for the programme itself, it is scheduled to be broadcast next April.

The former antique dealer then decided to entrust his painting to the John McInnis auction house, located in Amesbury in Massachusetts, of which he was a regular during his professional life. During the auction, which took place on 2 March, the painting became the object of a fierce battle between collectors from five different countries. The auction was won by a local purchaser for $190,000.

The anonymous vendor, known as Leroy in the media, declared to WIS that he wanted to divide the money between him and his stepdaughter, and to use his share to renovate his house.