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).


Bahamian Outsider Art Painting Amos Ferguson 3 Women Musicians Pineapple Hat

High Bid: $4,500.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
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Bahamian Outsider Art Painting by Amos Ferguson 5 Women Band Music 1984

High Bid: $4,500.00
Bids: 1
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Art Shepard Fairey Lotus Woman Coffee Table/Art Piece

High Bid: $2,800.00
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4d 25m


Large Original WILLIAM SKILLING Oil Painting, Art Deco Whippet Greyhound Dogs NR

High Bid: $2,314.99
Bids: 47
Time Left:
4h 18m


ELVISH CLANCALLER original MTG M19 oil painting by Matt Stewart

High Bid: $1,425.00
Bids: 11
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6d 2h 19m


1600’s HUGE OLD MASTER OIL ON CANVAS - ABRAHAM AND ISSAC SACRIFICE - UNLINED

High Bid: $1,383.79
Bids: 41
Time Left:
4d 23h 39m


Pablo Picasso Original Oil Painting on Canvas Signed 1937, PARIS MUSEE, "132"

High Bid: $1,275.00
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8h 53m


Painted Tides Peter Lik Acrylic Masterpiece

High Bid: $1,170.00
Bids: 1
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21h 18m


Antique 17thC Aristocratic Portrait Oil Painting, Circle of Sir Godfrey Kneller

High Bid: $1,160.00
Bids: 21
Time Left:
5d 3h 22m


Original Florida HIGHWAYMEN JAMES GIBSON-15½ X 19½ Moon Lit Lagoon - Birds Rare

High Bid: $1,000.00
Bids: 1
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1d 20h 57m


EMILE OTHON FRIESZ (1879-1949) FRENCH LARGE SIGNED 1935 OIL CANVAS BATHERS RIVER

High Bid: $953.42
Bids: 33
Time Left:
4d 23h 15m


MARCEL COSSON (1878-1956) FRENCH IMPRESSIONIST OIL to £27,000 BALLET DANCER

High Bid: $926.94
Bids: 23
Time Left:
4d 23h 30m


Canadian listed oil impressionism Molly Lamb Bobak (1922 - 2014) RCA, P11

High Bid: $890.00
Bids: 25
Time Left:
2d 26m


George Chann (1913 - 1995) | Untitled.

High Bid: $865.00
Bids: 13
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2d 5h 23m


Millennium Watchman by Vladimir Kush

High Bid: $860.00
Bids: 5
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20h 21m


Banksy original, signed Spray paint on street sign.

High Bid: $787.00
Bids: 5
Time Left:
1d 21h 35m


CHARLES CHAPLIN (1825-1891) FINE FRENCH OIL GIRL BLOWING BUBBLES to £122,000

High Bid: $764.06
Bids: 21
Time Left:
4d 23h 12m


"Teepees By River" Original Oil By Ohio/California Artist Joseph Sharp 1859-1953

High Bid: $760.00
Bids: 4
Time Left:
2d 5h 42m


c.1600 HUGE ITALIAN OLD MASTER OIL PANEL- MADONNA HOLDING FLOWER INFANT CHRIST

High Bid: $687.26
Bids: 34
Time Left:
4d 23h 5m


16th / 17th CENTURY LARGE ITALIAN OLD MASTER OIL NURSING MADONNA & JOHN BAPTIST

High Bid: $680.64
Bids: 28
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4d 23h 40m


Antique ANTOINIETTA BRANDEIS Pont Vecchio Florence Italy Bridge Oil Painting

High Bid: $680.00
Bids: 33
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PABLO PICASSO A 1954 ORIGINAL VINTAGE PAINTING NUDE FEMALE FIGURE NO PRINT RARE

High Bid: $661.00
Bids: 37
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5d 7h 5m


SEWELL SILLMAN (1924-1992) Untitled oil and gesso on Masonite orbs

High Bid: $650.00
Bids: 1
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1d 15h 4m


Large Antique J Ricci Italian Venetian Sailboat & Gondola Harbor Oil Painting

High Bid: $610.00
Bids: 32
Time Left:
2d 5h 21m


PAUL LE ROY (1860-1942) SIGNED FRENCH IMPRESSIONIST OIL PORTRAIT GIRL to £72,000

High Bid: $598.54
Bids: 31
Time Left:
4d 22h 52m