Thursday, August 8, 2013
A Great Story that Will Make You Gasp - Finding a treasure at a garage sale
I was on the phone yesterday with Scot Levitt, the head of the painting department for Bonham and Butterfields Auction House and he told me a story that he said I could tell you. The story came up because we were talking about the successful sale the evening before and how a painting had sold for twice its $175K estimate. I mentioned to him that is must feel great for him when he helps people to sell their items so successfully and that he must be awash in bottles of wine etc given in gratitude. He mentioned that this never happens and he almost never hears again from the sellers even if the sale is great for them. “Well”, I said, “I can that because most people don’t live their lives with an attitude of gratitude.”
Then he said that he had an exception to that comment: Several months ago a “picker” (a name in the art trade for people who scour the garage sales etc for paintings of value, then resell them to the auction house or to dealers for a quick profit) found a painting in a Pacific Palisades garage sale (a rich residential community by Santa Monica, CA).
The lady watching over her sale was selling a poorly framed item she thought was a poster. He mentioned to her he thought it was a real painting. She blew him off and treated him with indifference so he bought it for the $15 she was asking.
He drove the painting immediately to see Scot Levitt (about 30 minutes) where it was confirmed that it was a painting. It sold a few months later for $375,000.00!!! He was so thankful that he bought Scot an entire case of a fine wine, a highly unusual gesture. But he did next made me gasp… he drove back to the lady’s house where the garage sale had been and he surprised her with a check for $100,000!!! So, what do you think of THAT??!!
One of the most valuable analytical tools that a picker, a collector, an antiquer can use is a UV black light to help see invisible characteristics and details on paintings. For an article on this and a short video go to this page: http://tipsforfineartcollectors.org/blacklight-package/
For info on using Infrared go to this link: http://tipsforfineartcollectors.org/authentication/infrared-reflectometer-used-for-looking-at-paintings/
Questions about analyzing artwork? Call Scott M. Haskins at 805 564 3438
Questions about appraisals? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121