FOUND - Unwanted Painting Fetches $650,000

Kept in a Basement and Nearly Tossed in a Dumpster

Video
A forgotten and unwanted painting fetches $650,000 at auction.

April 27, 2017
By James Massey, What Sells Best News

VESTAL, NEW YORK (VIDEO) – FOX Business reports, a couple downsizing for a move, found a forgotten and unwanted painting in their basement. They couldn't decide if they should toss it, or donate it. Shortly thereafter... the painting fetched $650,000 at auction.

The upstate New York couple, Don and Phyllis Camp, were moving to Colorado to be near their grandchildren. They set up a dumpster and were tossing out decades worth of stuff, to lighten their load for the move. Then they found the forgotten oil painting under a bed sheet in the basement.

Nobody Wanted It

The painting, inherited from Don's mother in 1990, sat in the basement for more than 20 years, because it just didn't appeal to the couple. They pondered whether they should donate it to the Salvation Army, or perhaps just toss it in the dumpster.

Last minute, Don decided to run by a local auctioneer to see if it might be worth something. The auctioneer, David Mapes of Mapes Auctioneers didn't recognize the artist immediately. However he was impressed by the Southwest painting of the woman in a shawl. Stating in the FOX Business article; “It just knocked my socks off.”

One Sold for $400,000... Another for 50¢ at Yard Sale

Mapes research revealed the painting, entitled “Ruth,” was by William Victor Higgins (1884-1949). Higgins, became an important name in the 1920s as a member of the Taos Society of Artists, a New Mexico artist colony.

Interesting side note, related to the video mentioned above. March of 2015 we wrote about a $10,000 painting bought for 50¢ at a yard sale. We later learned that painting was also linked to Higgins, who had collaborated on it with other artists.

While researching, Mapes also discovered another Higgins painting had fetched $400,000 at Sotheby's. Our research indicates he may have found the painting entitled; "Four Shawled Women" which had fetched $411,200 at a New York sale in 2004.

Bidding-War Erupts

Mapes having a price in mind. However when he auctioned the Camp's painting, a bidding war broke out Which stroke the price to $650,000 which was paid by an Arizona collector.

Featured on TV

The painting story was highlighted on Fox Business Network’s “Strange Inheritance.” It was featured in Season 3, in Episode 24, named Desert Treasure.

Top 25: Paintings on eBay

The following list today's current Top 25: Painting Auctions, sorted by highest-bid on eBay, worldwide (Top 25: Art Items).


Antique 1898 Edward Bannister, Rhode Island Landscape Oil Painting Farmer & Cows

High Bid: $5,600.00
Bids: 23
Time Left:
2d 9h 21m


BARTOLOMMEO MONTAGNA (1450-1523) LARGE OLD MASTER OIL ON PANEL MADONNA & CHILD

High Bid: $3,425.23
Bids: 40
Time Left:
4d 4h 58m


GASPAR VERBRUGGEN (1664-1730) HUGE FLEMISH OLD MASTER OIL - FLOWERS IN BASKET

High Bid: $1,925.96
Bids: 19
Time Left:
4d 4h 22m


17th CENTURY HUGE DUTCH OLD MASTER OIL - FLOWERS & FRUIT - STUNNING

High Bid: $1,610.18
Bids: 34
Time Left:
4d 4h 14m


Tom Thomson 1877-1917 Canadian Listed Artist "Autumn View" Original Oil

High Bid: $1,325.00
Bids: 6
Time Left:
1d 11h 10m


Excellent & Nice oil painting canvas Frantisek Kupka painter Cheko orphism

High Bid: $1,225.00
Bids: 31
Time Left:
1d 10h 39m


WILLIAM TOLLIVER "MIDNIGHT SERENADE" LIMITED ED LARGE PORTRAIT ARTIST SIGNED

High Bid: $1,099.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 1h 37m


EDOUARD GOERG (1893-1969) RARE OIL to £29,000 FRENCH EXPRESSIONIST SELF PORTRAIT

High Bid: $1,096.07
Bids: 26
Time Left:
4d 4h 34m


ADRIEN TANOUX (1865-1923) SIGNED LARGE OIL to £135,000 MOTHER & CHILD

High Bid: $1,092.16
Bids: 35
Time Left:
4d 5h


pastel on old cardboard signed

High Bid: $1,075.00
Bids: 8
Time Left:
1d 2h 10m


GUSTAVE JACQUET (1846-1909) SIGNED FRENCH OIL PANEL PORTRAIT OF GIRL to £146,000

High Bid: $1,063.45
Bids: 52
Time Left:
4d 4h 42m


Florida Highwaymen Sam Newton Royal Poinciana - 20x24

High Bid: $1,009.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
5d 11h


Original Painting by Bill Rabbit of a Native American

High Bid: $1,000.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 14h 20m


Large 19th Century French Girl Portrait Helen Waterhouse Antique Oil Painting

High Bid: $948.63
Bids: 40
Time Left:
4d 4h 38m


French Listed Artist Claude Venard 1913-1999 Original Oil "Still Life" Signed

High Bid: $910.00
Bids: 15
Time Left:
3d 10h 20m


Antique mid-19thC Life Size American Southern Belle O/C Portrait Oil Painting

High Bid: $909.00
Bids: 27
Time Left:
2d 8h 45m


Harold Newton Highwaymen Painting Indian River 14" X 24" on Upson board

High Bid: $909.00
Bids: 15
Time Left:
5d 10h 38m


FINE EARLY 19TH C. JOHN CONSTABLE SCHOOL OIL - SUFFOLK RIVER & CHURCH LANDSCAPE

High Bid: $896.43
Bids: 30
Time Left:
4d 4h 14m


c.1700 LARGE OLD MASTER OIL - SUSANNA AND THE ELDERS - UNLINED ORIGINAL CANVAS

High Bid: $895.13
Bids: 31
Time Left:
4d 4h 38m


Antique William Birney American Impressionist Interior Portrait Oil Painting NR

High Bid: $801.01
Bids: 34
Time Left:
1d 10h 11m


Orig ANTOINE BLANCHARD French Impressionist Oil Painting, Arc de Triomphe Paris

High Bid: $732.00
Bids: 33
Time Left:
2d 8h 28m


ORIGINAL Large Street Art Urban Painting Canvas Modern Abstract Words Text COA

High Bid: $724.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 8h 2m


HENRION Armand Francois Joseph (1875-1958) Oil on Board CLOWN

High Bid: $681.12
Bids: 48
Time Left:
3d 22h 22m


Harold Newton Highwaymen Painting Indian River Moonlight Rare scene 14" X 24" NR

High Bid: $655.00
Bids: 15
Time Left:
6d 10h 10m


Fine Large 19th Century Portrait Young Lady Antique Oil Painting

High Bid: $652.43
Bids: 53
Time Left:
4d 4h 19m