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).


Contemporary Art Painting - Green, Red and Gold - Meaningful - Expensive Price 

High Bid: $10,000.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
10h 52m


WIlliam Adolphe Bouguereau Original on Paper 1879 with Authenticy

High Bid: $4,300.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
1d 15h 9m


Maud Lewis Oil on board, oxen pulling logs, dimensions 14 x 10 , wood frame

High Bid: $3,050.00
Bids: 24
Time Left:
1d 10h 16m


WPA NYC Signed ROBERT HENRI Portrait Painting Boy InBlue ASHCAN SCL Storage Find

High Bid: $3,000.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 9h 22m


Wou-Ki Zao (New York / China, France 1921 - 2013) | Watercolor / Paper, 1969.

High Bid: $2,850.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
13h 23m


"Fruits sur la Table" Initialed "E V" Probably French Artist Edouard Vuillard

High Bid: $2,025.00
Bids: 15
Time Left:
15h 41m


Felix Varla Varlamishvilli original painting oil on canvas 22 x 26 in 55 x 65 cm

High Bid: $2,000.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
6d 2h 39m


1599 DUTCH OLD MASTER TRIPTYCH OILS ON PANEL - MADONN & CHILD & SAINT ANNE

High Bid: $1,715.10
Bids: 26
Time Left:
5d 9h 18m


Painting of St. Joseph by Br. Karel Soukup, OSB

High Bid: $1,575.00
Bids: 34
Time Left:
6h 52m


1590’s FINE EARLY ENGLISH OIL ON PANEL PORTRAIT LORD MOUNTJOY - CHARLES BLOUNT

High Bid: $1,462.88
Bids: 31
Time Left:
5d 9h 39m


Orestes Gaulhiac painting

High Bid: $1,400.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 18h 27m


Selden Connor Gile (California, Maine 1877 - 1947) | Oil / Canvas.

High Bid: $1,250.00
Bids: 17
Time Left:
1d 15h 31m


Old master Oil Painting Impressionist European landscape Folk Art Signed RARE

High Bid: $1,225.00
Bids: 59
Time Left:
1d 8h 29m


19thC Antique Signed Country Farm Barn Interior Sheep & Chickens Oil Painting NR

High Bid: $1,225.00
Bids: 44
Time Left:
2d 14h 17m


Henry Tanner (1859 - 1937) Pennsylvania, Kansas/France Listed Artist Oil

High Bid: $1,225.00
Bids: 27
Time Left:
2d 16h 7m


Large 19thC Antique American Portrait Oil Painting, Woman w/ Gloves & Lace NR

High Bid: $1,222.22
Bids: 19
Time Left:
6d 16h 11m


CONSTANT TROYON (1810-1865) SIGNED LARGE BARBZION OIL PANEL CATTLE to £350,000

High Bid: $1,061.85
Bids: 21
Time Left:
5d 9h 32m


19thC Antique American Portrait Oil Painting Jacob Cassatt Pennsylvania Senator

High Bid: $1,026.00
Bids: 31
Time Left:
3d 15h 9m


JOHN CONSTABLE R.A. (1776-1837) EXHIBIT OIL CANVAS HAYMAKING COOLING GALLERIES

High Bid: $1,015.19
Bids: 23
Time Left:
5d 9h 37m


1950/60s NORTH AMERICAN - CANADIAN LANDSCAPE OIL PAINTING -A Y JACKSON ???

High Bid: $971.05
Bids: 2
Time Left:
3d 14h 4m


Gothic 14th-16th cent. antique old master painting

High Bid: $921.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
4d 17h 51m


Felix Varla Varlamishvilli original painting oil on canvas 20 x 28 in 50 x 70 cm

High Bid: $920.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
6d 2h 35m


Michael Godard Art “Cigar” Painting Signed & Numbered (#2 of 100) **CAN’T FIND**

High Bid: $899.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 13h 55m


Antique 18thC Greek Orthodox, St. Christopher Dog-Head Saint, Icon Painting, NR

High Bid: $861.00
Bids: 86
Time Left:
12h 58m


Alex ross justice league canvas Painting numbered. #6 out of 77 .

High Bid: $850.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
6d 6h 26m