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).


17th CENTURY RUBENS SCHOOL OLD MASTER OIL ON CANVAS - ARRIVAL OF MARIE DE MEDICI

High Bid: $4,545.42
Bids: 72
Time Left:
3d 21h 44m


FRENCH PAINTING ERA Martial Raysse Raymond Hains DALI POLLOCK PICASSO DUBUFFET

High Bid: $4,050.00
Bids: 56
Time Left:
2d 23h 42m


SUPERB RUSSIAN SIGNED OIL PAINTING - FIGURES AT THE BEACH - SURREALIST WORK

High Bid: $2,961.41
Bids: 90
Time Left:
21h 58m


SUPERB RUSSIAN SIGNED OIL PAINTING - LADIES IN APPLE ORCHARD - SURREALIST WORK

High Bid: $2,823.67
Bids: 30
Time Left:
3d 21h 52m


Lau Chun flowers/pond original painting Limited Edition w/Authentication 3 PC!

High Bid: $2,595.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
5h 28m


Original Sam Doyle Painting on Roofing Tin Gullah Folk Art

High Bid: $1,999.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 3h 42m


Listed Theodoros Stamos Large PERIOD Abstract Expressionist Oil Painting NO RES.

High Bid: $1,901.99
Bids: 28
Time Left:
4d 5h 27m


Ralph Wallace Burton Original Oil Painting - Oil on Canvas St. Elias Range Yukon

High Bid: $1,574.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
3d 1h 44m


1876 Christopher Shearer Painting Manatawny Bridge Pottstown, PA Berks County

High Bid: $1,551.00
Bids: 7
Time Left:
4h 42m


MDH Margaret KEANE The Runaway Vintage Art paintings the Holy Grail 1 of her 1st

High Bid: $1,500.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
21h 22m


Antoine blanchard very large original painting 30x40

High Bid: $1,500.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 16h 32m


Vintage Original Painting Outsider Folk Art Lamp Post Hiding Lady In Red Lyon

High Bid: $1,500.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
5d 15h 38m


ERNEST MARCHE (1862-1934) LARGE SIGNED EXHIBITION OIL WINTER LANDSCAPE SNOW

High Bid: $1,439.38
Bids: 29
Time Left:
3d 21h 48m


Canadian listed oil impressionism folk art rare Maud Lewis 1903 - 1970

High Bid: $1,249.14
Bids: 42
Time Left:
1h 42m


1600’s SUPERB ITALIAN OLD MASTER OIL ON PANEL - HEAD OF A MAN - VERY UNUSUAL

High Bid: $1,170.79
Bids: 30
Time Left:
3d 21h 53m


MARCEL DUCHAMP SIGNED ORIGINAL PENCIL ON PAPER

High Bid: $1,000.01
Bids: 25
Time Left:
1d 21h 12m


EXTRA Large Igor Pantuhoff Oil Painting - Young Girl w/big eyes

High Bid: $1,000.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
6d 5h 51m


ANNE PACKARD, Massachusetts/New Jersey Provincetown Oil Painting listed artist

High Bid: $999.99
Bids: 9
Time Left:
1d 39m


ORIGINAL FANTASY ART PAINTING BY DARRELL K SWEET - THE MAP OF XANTH FOR CALENDAR

High Bid: $999.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 23h 48m


1900s CALIFORNIA PLEIN AIR OIL PAINTING GRANVILLE REDMOND ? POPPIES ESTATE FIND

High Bid: $995.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 1h 2m


Journey to Eternity - ORIGINAL PAINTING for MTG : Rivals of Ixalan

High Bid: $990.00
Bids: 5
Time Left:
4d 1h 29m


MASTERPIECE Old master Oil Painting Impressionist European Art Signed Appel ?

High Bid: $900.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
4d 1h 26m


MASTERPIECE Old master Oil Painting Impressionist American Art Signed Gorky ?

High Bid: $900.00
Bids: 4
Time Left:
4d 18h 51m


PAUL LE ROY (1860-1942) SIGNED FRENCH ORIENTALIST OIL GIRL ON TERRACE to £72,000

High Bid: $884.29
Bids: 32
Time Left:
3d 22h 18m


Antique Alfred Charles Conrade Portrait Oil Painting Victorian Woman, Dog & Fan

High Bid: $840.00
Bids: 22
Time Left:
2d 2h 32m