FOUND > Dad's Dumpster-Dive Worth $15,000

Saves Rare Etching by Chinese Modern Master

Zao Wou-Ki etching retrieved from dumpster by woman's father.

February 12, 2018
By Ruthie Bowles, Contributing Author for What Sells Best News

HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA - As shown on Antiques Roadshow, a rare etching, found in a dumpster on a construction site, is estimated to be worth $10,000-$15,000.


A former antiques store owner brought in an old etching her father gave her to take to Antiques Roadshow in Harrisburg, PA. As a construction worker, he often found things that he brought to her. He discovered this particular piece in a Yale dumpster while on site for a job.

It hadn’t been appraised, so this Antiques Roadshow guest never placed it for sale in her shop. Todd Weyman, an appraiser from Swann Auction Galleries, gave her great news. Zao Wou-Ki created this etching, titled Flora and Fauna, in 1951, and Weyman would expect it to fetch $10,000-$15,000 at auction. This etching is aptly named, as it depicts various animals in a naturesque scene.


Zao Wou-Ki was born in Beijing on February 1st, 1920. He studied in the China Academy of Art for three years, until 1941. In 1948, he moved to Paris with his wife to continue his artistic education. Almost ten years after arriving in Paris, Zao decided to visit his brother in New Jersey. He stayed for six weeks.

An introduction to the Beijing-born artist Zao Wou-Ki, by Christie's.

Zao was fascinated by the pop art scene in New York, but ended up turning towards the Abstract Expressionism style influenced by Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock instead. He became very popular during the 1960’s and 1970’s for his abstract work.


Zao Wou-Ki’s early career work is extremely hard to find, and he is a highly sought after Chinese-born artist. This etching was printed in a set of only 200, and reflects a style much different than that seen at the height of his career.

Zao Wou-Ki painting fetches $26 Million (HK$202 Million) after premium, at Christie's.

His original paintings have sold for millions of dollars. In fact, his auction record was set at $26 million, only three years after his death.


Among dumpster finds we have tracked, this one is amazing. Especially considering it wasn’t damaged by the glass and debris.

You should check with the experts on our free appraisals page if you think you have found a valuable etching. Small details make all of the difference and are easy to miss!


At this time, we don’t have any information regarding the sale of this item.


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