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).


Large Antique Signed Italian Cavalier Men in Wine Cellar. Genre Oil Painting, NR

High Bid: $4,051.00
Bids: 118
Time Left:
10m 35s


Genuine Hunt Slonem Neo Expressionist Parrots Painting Tropical Amazons LARGE

High Bid: $3,449.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
7d 15h 1m


GERTRUDE ABERCROMBIE (AMERICAN, 1908-1977) UNTITLED- Signed-No Reserve Auc

High Bid: $2,247.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
12h 52m


ADAM VAN DER MEULEN (1632-1690) FLEMISH OLD MASTER OIL BATTLE, PROV: WILDENSTEIN

High Bid: $2,183.69
Bids: 55
Time Left:
1d 19h 44m


ORIGINAL Vintage 1966 MORT KUNSTLER PULP ART HARLEY BIKER HOT SEX SLEAZE GAL

High Bid: $1,900.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
18h 47m


New Original Local Frame Banksy Box Set walled Off Hotel with Receipt- BETHLEHEM

High Bid: $1,600.00
Bids: 15
Time Left:
4d 19h 31m


Bev Doolittle "BUGGED BEAR" limited edition full size print.

High Bid: $1,600.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 21h 13m


Luis Sottil Naturalismo on Canvas Harmony in Movement Lionfish Fish Signed Art

High Bid: $1,499.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 22h 21m


Antique VITTORIO TESSARI Italian Impressionist Oil Painting Young Girl & Flowers

High Bid: $1,225.00
Bids: 63
Time Left:
2d


Original 17th Century Italian Old Master Oil Painting of Baroque Biblical Scene

High Bid: $1,081.95
Bids: 20
Time Left:
1d 19h 5m


Julius Bloch oil on canvas "Tired Traveller", Good condition, well framed.

High Bid: $1,000.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 1h 51m


Julius Bloch oil on canvas "Checking Up", Good condition, Well framed.

High Bid: $1,000.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 1h 51m


ORIGINAL SKALAGARD POTOSI SEASCAPE COASTAL OIL PAINTING CALIFORNIA MARINE ARTIST

High Bid: $999.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 2h 5m


MARGUERITE GODIN (1860-1910) RARE LARGE SIGNED FRENCH SYMBOLIST OIL GIRL FLOWERS

High Bid: $963.20
Bids: 21
Time Left:
1d 19h 46m


John Joseph Enneking (1841-1916), Massachusetts,NY,Ohio Artist, Oil/Canvas,1893.

High Bid: $925.00
Bids: 58
Time Left:
2d 1h 31m


Moonlit Landscape Antique 19th Century Oil Painting Sebastian Pether (1790–1844)

High Bid: $851.05
Bids: 49
Time Left:
1d 18h 16m


17th cent. antique old master painting Dutch

High Bid: $800.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 3h 22m


17th /18th cent. antique old master painting Dutch

High Bid: $800.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 3h 33m


Bev Doolittle "WHOO" limited edition full size print.

High Bid: $800.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 21h 13m


3-D painting "Wine in Motion" by Dominic Pangborn

High Bid: $800.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
6d 11h 27m


Heinrich Hofer oil painting signed dated 1858 13.5x16" Maiden with cattle LISTED

High Bid: $800.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
8d 13h 20m


VINCENT GALLOWAY (1894-1977) BEAUTIFUL SIGNED OIL - 1930'S PORTRAIT OF LADY

High Bid: $778.48
Bids: 39
Time Left:
1d 19h 26m


Winslow Homer 1872-1952 American Listed Artist Watercolor "Coast Scene"

High Bid: $760.00
Bids: 11
Time Left:
4d 1h 52m


17th CENTURY REMBRANDT LARGE DUTCH OLD MASTER OIL ON CANVAS - HEAD OF MAN

High Bid: $721.74
Bids: 34
Time Left:
1d 19h 24m


FINE 18TH CENTURY LARGE ITALIAN OLD MASTER PAINTING - CORONATION OF THE VIRGIN

High Bid: $700.63
Bids: 26
Time Left:
8d 19h 5m