FOUND > Thrift Store 'Jesus' Fetches $135,000

Man down to his last $300 finds Windfall at Salvation Army

Painting by Warner Sallman discovered in Salvation Army.
FIND: Religious Paintings | Spiritual Antiques

April 12, 2018
By James Massey, What Sells Best News

CHICAGO - PBS Station WTTW reports, a man down to his last $300, buys vintage 'Jesus' art at a thrift store, and it fetches a $135,000 windfall.

THE DISCOVERY

The vintage painting, depicting Jesus, and entitled "The Head of Christ" by Warner Sallman (1892 – 1968) is one of the most recognized religious art pieces in the world.

That may have been what helped catch the eye of thrift store bargain hunter, Paul Beaty, at a time when he was down to his last $300.

Story of the discovery of the paintings by WTTW Chicago Tonight.

Beaty spotted a pair of the pictures that day, and remembered the image from childhood. Then, noticed they were originals. One chalk, one oil. He decided to take a gamble.

The artworks were priced at $125 each. With funds tight, Beaty haggled with the store for a discount. He received a $50 off, and picked up the pair for $220 after tax.

Online research convinced Beaty of their potential rarity. But a visit to Sallman expert Leroy Carlson, left Beaty shocked. They were appraised at: $35,000 for the chalk and $100,000 for the oil.

THE SALE

Remarkably, after the artworks garnered media attention through the WTTW Chicago Tonight story. Beaty was able to arrange a private sale with author Jerry Jenkins, for $135,000.

WHY IT’S RARE

"The Head of Christ" by Warner Sallman has been reproduced over a billion times. Printed on a wide variety of items, including postage stamps. Only five original oil paintings are known to exist.

RELIGIOUS RARITIES

Depending on the artist, spiritual and religious art can skyrocket. Last year we reported on a painting of Jesus bought in Louisiana for $10,000. That one stunned the art world, by fetching $450 million.

CBS News story of the $450 million painting.

The 16th century painting, named 'Salvator Mundi,' or 'Savior of the World,' was by Leonardo da Vinci. The sale shattered records, and it became the most expensive piece of art ever sold.

Small details can make a big difference in identifying and valuing art. If you think you have something, you should go to our free appraisals page and contact several of the experts listed there.

SPIRITUAL COLLECTIBLES PRICES

To monitor the real-time price strength of more common religious and spiritual collectibles. Keep an eye on the highest bid items (below) in the Spiritual Collectibles category on eBay. To research sold prices for rare items, click here.


FIND: Religious Paintings | Spiritual Antiques

Chinese Large Gilt Bronze Guanyin (Buddha), Ming / Qing dynasty

High Bid: $2,938.00
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Time Left:
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Antique 18thC Greek Orthodox, St. Christopher Dog-Head Saint, Icon Painting, NR

High Bid: $861.00
Bids: 86
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Vintage Rare Italian Neapolitan Angel Creche Doll Glass Eyes 14"

High Bid: $600.00
Bids: 1
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1d 10h 3m


Madonna and Child Figurine - G. Armani "Madonna del Latte" Ltd Edition AP/1500 

High Bid: $595.00
Bids: 1
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No Reserve Vintage Faturan Cherry Amber Bakelite Islamic Prayer Beads 140G!

High Bid: $455.00
Bids: 51
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2d 10h 13m


Gilles Beaugrand Sterling silver Chalice

High Bid: $450.00
Bids: 1
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2d 8h 22m


Ancient Carved Stone Buddhist Temple Relief Fragment, Garuda Fighting Naga Snake

High Bid: $415.00
Bids: 30
Time Left:
6d 13h 33m


Large Russian Orthodox Icon of Jesus Christ XIX ct.

High Bid: $399.00
Bids: 1
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Vintage XX Rare 8 FIRST CLASS RELICS in Shadow Box FRAME w OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS NR

High Bid: $375.00
Bids: 45
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Bl. HELENA GUERRA - 1st class relic + authentic document

High Bid: $325.00
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18thC Antique, Folk Art Carved Wood, Christian Saint Statue Bust, NR

High Bid: $305.00
Bids: 15
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Antique Iodent Large Toothpaste Thermometer

High Bid: $300.00
Bids: 7
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Charlie Chaplin The Tramp" Lladro Collectible Pristine Condition

High Bid: $250.00
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LOT OF SILVER / GOLD PLATED CHATOLIC CIBORIUM CHALICE / HOSTI BOX 1900'S

High Bid: $249.99
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Reliquary Relic of Saint Augustine of Hippo + document

High Bid: $242.50
Bids: 2
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Ancient Antique Thailand, Painted Sand Cast Bronze, Buddha Buddhism Statue God

High Bid: $237.50
Bids: 21
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MISSIONARY ROSARY BIG 46 INCH X 58 BEADS MINT ORIGINAL

High Bid: $225.00
Bids: 18
Time Left:
2d 7h 56m


1st Class Reliquary Relic of Saint Joseph spouse of Mary + Document

High Bid: $212.50
Bids: 3
Time Left:
2d 12h 42m


Reliquary Relic of Saint Damian + Document

High Bid: $200.00
Bids: 1
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1d 11h 33m


Reliquary Relic of Saint Lucia + document

High Bid: $200.00
Bids: 1
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SOLID SILVER CRUCIFIX HOLY WATER FONT. HEIGHT: 30 cm/ 11.81 inch.

High Bid: $195.47
Bids: 17
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clergy rainbow stole

High Bid: $192.50
Bids: 19
Time Left:
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Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton• Mother Of Seton Relic w/ COA• Reliquary Pendant

High Bid: $189.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
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Antique Authentic Hand Woven Turkish Islamic Prayer Rug, NO Reserve!

High Bid: $184.50
Bids: 19
Time Left:
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Watchtower Phonograph (1939) Jehovah's Witnesses

High Bid: $178.50
Bids: 16
Time Left:
2d 15h 22m