Woman Buys Painting For $4 At Thrift Store, Turns Out It Could Fetch Up To $250K
Jessica Ruscello via Getty Images

A woman could see a six-figure payday as a painting she picked up at a New Hampshire thrift store turned out to be the lost work of a master artist.

The woman, who chooses to remain anonymous, said she found the piece at Savers thrift store in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 2017, per The New York Post. She had been hunting for old frames to fix up when she stumbled upon the item.

Thinking nothing of it, she paid the $4 purchase price without having any idea of the painting’s value. She hung it in her bedroom for several years and then out of curiosity, posted it on the Facebook group “Things Found In Walls – And Other Hidden Findings.” Maine-based conservator Lauren Lewis saw the post and realized it could be the real work of Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth.

Wyeth (1882 – 1945) was a prolific artist credited with more than 3,000 paintings. His best-known works were 25 pieces called Scribner’s, which were illustrations for the Scribner Classics publishing house. N.C. Wyeth was the son of artist Andrew Wyeth and grandson of Jamie Wyeth, also a notable artist of his time.

The piece going up for auction was part of a series of four works created for the 1939 edition of Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 novel “Ramona.” The book tells the tale of a Scottish-Native American girl living in Southern California after the Mexican-American war, the outlet noted. 

Now the formerly lost painting will be auctioned by Bonhams Skinner on September 19. The estimated bidding price is between $150,000 and $250,000.

“Wyeth deftly portrays the tension between Ramona and her rigid and overbearing foster mother, Señora Moreno,” the auction house wrote in the listing. Prior to this discovery, only one of the paintings from the series had been found.

The woman who found it recalled how she previously, “joked about it being a real painting.”


Lewis, the conservator who first recognized the piece for what it was, told The Boston Globe she was “99 percent certain that it was authentic.”

“My assessment of the condition was that, while it certainly had some small scratches and it could use a surface clean, it was in remarkable condition considering none of us had any idea of its journey over the last 80 years,” she said.

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