FOUND > Painting Worth Up To $300,000

"That's so much. I don't even know what to say.” - Owner

The appraisal, left the young lady speechless.

January 26, 2018
By Ruthie Bowles, Contributing Author for What Sells Best News

HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA – Antiques Roadshow reports, a rare watercolor painting mistaken for a $200 print that was gifted to a young woman by her departed grandmother, was recently appraised for $200,000 - $300,000.


Antiques Roadshow never fails to amaze. A young woman brought a painting she received from her deceased grandmother to the first ever Roadshow appraisal in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Her grandmother displayed the painting right over her own bed. In the past, appraisers assessed its value at $200, and $250, two separate times.

Meredith Hillferty, from Rago Arts and Auction Center and the Roadshow appraiser looking at this watercolor and gouache painting, delivered an appraisal estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. That’s 1,000 times the initial appraisal amount. This news shook the young lady to her core, and she was visibly moved and speechless.

After taking a moment to compose herself, she stated; "Oh, my God. Oh... That's so much. I don't even know what to say."


Henry Francios Farny was born in France in 1847. At six years old, he came to America with his family, and his fascination with Native Americans began. He initially lived in Pennsylvania and then moved to Ohio. He traveled back across the Atlantic Ocean three times to study artistic techniques, and he traveled up and down the Mississippi River and out West to sketch and paint Native Americans.

Art expert Michael Duty discusses Henry Farny in a Heritage Auction video.

His art  studies in Europe included studying that the Düsseldorf School of Art, and this style of plein air painting is evident in his work. The artists of this school focused on landscapes and usually used a subdued color palette.

In the 1880’s, artwork showcasing Native Americans gained popularity, and Farny focused on adding his art to the market. The 1890’s are considered his most prolific time, which is the decade this painting comes from. Unlike other painters of his time, Farny showed the Native Americans at peace with their surroundings, and never in conflict.


Henry Farny paintings are highly sought after by collectors due to their unique perspective of the Native Americans in the 19th century. That one-of-a-kind view of North American Indians is definitely showcased in this piece.

Theodore Roosevelt told Farny that "The nation owes you a great debt. It does not realize it now but it will some day. You are preserving, for future generations, phases of American history that are rapidly passing away."


Among painting discoveries, this family treasure may not rank as high as some we’ve tracked. However, it’s a tremendously touching story that obviously had a huge impact on the life of the young woman who received the painting from her grandmother.

However, Farny paintings can surprise on the upside. May of 2012, at Bonhams, a Farny work fetched more than three times its $100,000 pre-sale estimate when it sold for $362,500.

Small details make a big difference in the prices of paintings. If you believe you have found something, you may want to check with the experts found on our free appraisals page.


At this time we have no information regarding the sale of this item.


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