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).


EXCEPTIONAL c1876 THE WHARF FRENCH OIL ON CANVAS SIGNED EUGENE BOUDIN

High Bid: $6,400.01
Bids: 55
Time Left:
5d 20h 51m


Large 19th Century English Jockey & Horse Portrait Antique Oil Painting HERRING

High Bid: $4,868.10
Bids: 42
Time Left:
3d 14h 36m


ORIGINAL EDMUND H. OSTHAUS OIL PAINTING 2 DOGS. SETTERS. 1889.

High Bid: $3,650.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
1d 10h 11m


JOHN ROBERTSON REID R.O.I. (1851-1926) HUGE SIGNED BRITISH OIL - ROYAL ACADEMY

High Bid: $2,039.19
Bids: 38
Time Left:
3d 14h 47m


Rare oil by Chesley Bonestell of a Chinese landscape. 1976, 24" x 10". Signed

High Bid: $2,000.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
3d 21h 24m


RARE!"Tokens of Identity"by Ida Kohlmeyer, Print #60/135, CUSTOM FRAME INCLUDED!

High Bid: $1,999.95
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 23h 23m


MUSEUM QUALITY c1869 OSBERT LOOMIS AMERICAN HUDSON RIVER VALLEY OIL PAINTING

High Bid: $1,782.00
Bids: 34
Time Left:
5d 20h 59m


PETER MAX original signed PAINTING UNITED WE STAND

High Bid: $1,777.00
Bids: 7
Time Left:
2d 10h 54m


Antique SYLVESTER MARTIN English Fox Hunting Hound Dogs & Horses Oil Painting

High Bid: $1,775.00
Bids: 52
Time Left:
19h 44m


1600’s FINE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE OLD MASTER OIL - TRANSFIGURATION CHRIST RAPHAEL

High Bid: $1,699.78
Bids: 35
Time Left:
3d 14h 34m


IMPORTANT C1840 20PCS BOURBON SICILIES ANTONIA ROYAL FAMILY MINIATURE PORTRAITS

High Bid: $1,676.00
Bids: 23
Time Left:
5d 20h 44m


GEORGES DIETERLE (1844-1937) LARGE SIGNED FRENCH BARBIZON OIL SHEPHERD MOONLIGHT

High Bid: $1,588.89
Bids: 44
Time Left:
3d 15h 4m


1600’s ITALIAN OLD MASTER OIL COPPER PANEL, CHRIST & WOMAN OF SAMARIA - CARRACCI

High Bid: $1,564.55
Bids: 38
Time Left:
3d 15h


Abstract Mixed Media/Oil By Poland Listed Artist Tadeus Kantor 1915-1990

High Bid: $1,555.55
Bids: 60
Time Left:
21h 19m


JACQUOT DEFRANCE (1874-1902) RARE FRENCH STILL LIFE OIL SIGNED - CHINESE VASES

High Bid: $1,536.16
Bids: 23
Time Left:
3d 14h 20m


AUTH. CANADIAN QUEBEC OIL PAINTING PRINCE WALES TERRACE MONTREAL JOHN LITTLE RCA

High Bid: $1,525.00
Bids: 30
Time Left:
5d 21h


YOUR CUSTOM Jasmine Becket-Griffith ORIGINAL PAINTING Fairy Face 241 big eye art

High Bid: $1,225.00
Bids: 31
Time Left:
3d 18h 3m


"Winding Creek" 2005 by Jacob Cooley. 16" x 16", signed oil on canvas.

High Bid: $1,200.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 20h 49m


CHARLES VERBRUGGHE (1875-1972) SIGNED BELGIAN IMPRESSIONIST OIL CANAL BRUGES

High Bid: $1,108.85
Bids: 23
Time Left:
14h 40m


GUSTAVE POETZSCH (1870-1950) FRENCH IMPRESSIONIST SIGNED OIL LACE MAKERS - RARE

High Bid: $1,079.08
Bids: 33
Time Left:
14h 24m


Original Matt Schwenk Fine Arts Abstract Painting - "Marathon" 36x36 in (Framed)

High Bid: $1,050.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
6d 13h 41m


FERDINAND DE BRAEKELEER (1798-1883) LARGE SIGNED BELGIAN GENRE OIL to £66,000

High Bid: $1,037.18
Bids: 24
Time Left:
3d 14h 46m


HENRY BANNARN (1910-1965) IMPORTANT BLACK AMERICAN ARTIST

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


Peter Max Original Acrylic Painting over Litho "Full Liberty, Patriotic Series"!

High Bid: $1,000.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
3d 21h 17m


An Offering to the Gods Antique 17th Century French Old Master Oil Painting

High Bid: $994.65
Bids: 44
Time Left:
3d 13h 44m