Man Walks Away From Thrift Store With Possible Picasso Print For $14

Like an Antiques Roadshow devotee’s dream come true, a man in Columbus, Ohio, spotted a print signed possibly bearing the signature of Pablo Picasso at his local thrift store and snagged it for $14.14. When he first picked it up, he said he didn’t even notice the faint red signature in the corner of the piece, which advertises a 1958 exhibition of Picasso’s work.

Zach tells The Columbus Dispatch his eye was caught by Picasso’s name at the Volunteers of America store, but he figured it was a nice reproduction. Once he got it home, he took a closer look and saw the red scribble in the corner.

“I started shaking a little bit,” he told the paper. “I realized it wasn’t going to make me rich, but still, how often do you find a Picasso?”

According to the vice president of NYC’s Swann Auction Galleries, who said he’s confident the piece is authentic, the print could sell for up to $6,000 at auction or even double that if sold at a gallery.

The poster is a linocut, a print produced by pressing a design carved into linoleum into ink and then onto paper. It’s known as an artist’s proof, one which was looked at carefully for approval by the artist before subsequent prints are run off.

If you’re preparing to go scour stores for undiscovered Picasso pieces, you likely won’t have any luck — they’re usually easily recognizable, and most people know when they have one. This store says it just slipped through the cracks.

As for Zach, he’s not sure yet what he’ll do with his lucky find if it does turn out to be a real Picasso. He’s looking for full-time work after being laid off two years ago.

“There’s a good chance I’ll probably sell it,” he said. “I want to keep it, but money is tight.”

*Thanks to local thrifters Nadine and Casey for the tip!

A thrift-store Picasso? Shopper discovers after taking $14.14 purchase home that it might be signed original print worth thousands [Columbus Dispatch]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Diabolos needs more socks says:

    I heard that Pablo Picasso has PP on his smock.

  2. Grogey says:

    Wish the money wasn’t so tight for him so he could keep it.

  3. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Unfortunately, $6,000 at auction will net him a little over $4,000.

    If you think eBay fees are high, just check into a real auction house for a 1 or 2 item consignment.

    • Jerry Vandesic says:

      Most of the major auction houses have the buyer pay a premium to cover the auction house fees. If something sells for $6K, the seller gets $6K while the buyer typically pays more than $6K (say 10% to 20% more).

      • legotech says:

        Nope, the auction house has a buyer’s premium AND a house cut off the seller’s side…so if the final bid is 10,000, the auction house collects 12,500 from the bidder and gives the seller $7500, less if there are photo fees and the like.

    • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

      Don’t forget taxes — Uncle Sam needs to get his cut, too.

  4. lvdave says:

    Lawsuit by thrift store in 5 4 3 2 1….

    • KyBash says:

      My ex-sister-in-law and her husband used to do working vacations — whenever they went to visit the folks in Iowa, they’d hit thrift stores for stuff to sell in their antique store in Arizona.

      They were always open about what they were doing, and they often alerted the store manager if they found something that might be really valuable. The response was always: “trying to get more than the tag price would be a hassle.”

      In most states, once the receipt is printed, it’s a done deal, and if the store sold a Rembrandt for fifty cents, tough luck.

    • Rexy on a rampage says:

      If the store sold it, they don’t have a legal leg to stand on. It’s the man’s now.

    • Billy says:

      Buy low, sell high. Nothing wrong or illegal about that.

    • bluline says:

      Sue for what? That the customer was obligated to tell the store that the print was worth much more than $14? Good luck with that one!

    • BorkBorkBork says:

      YANAL (thankfully)

    • Jawaka says:

      Countdown posts are dumb.

  5. Cat says:

    $14 for a Picasso?

    Sounds a little high.

  6. The Colonel says:

    If he doesn’t have a job, then how did he come up with the $14.14???

    My tax dollars, that makes it MY Picasso.

    He can mail the check to me.

    • A.Mercer says:

      You are just guessing that he is without means to produce $14.14 on his own. In the article there was this line:

      “He supplements income from his part-time job by refurbishing and selling vintage furniture that he finds at thrift stores.”

      I think you owe the nice man an apology.

    • LanMan04 says:

      yeah, people who are out of work should live in caves with no electricity and shit in a hole in the ground! Stop pampering them!

      /s /republican

    • MrEvil says:

      Also, unemployment insurance isn’t YOUR tax dollars. It’s money paid by employers for every full time employee.

  7. uniqueme says:

    Did anybody else think WTF? The guy is out of work for two years and yet feels like he has the disposable income to buy an art piece?

    • RedOryx says:

      For fuck’s sake, he bought it at a thrift store. It’s not like he went to an auction at Sotheby’s.

    • Weighted Companion Cube says:

      An art piece for $14.14 AND according to the article “He supplements income from his part-time job by refurbishing and selling vintage furniture that he finds at thrift stores.” Wow maybe read the article? Just a suggestion.

      • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

        And how does he afford to refurbish furniture? I’m guessing he stays on unemployment because the pay is better than it would be in the arts.
        Wow maybe you should do some thinking? Just a suggestion.

    • bluline says:

      I’m unemployed, but I can still afford to spend $14. In fact, I can afford to spend much, much more than that. That’s because I actually saved some of my income and invested it wisely.

    • LanMan04 says:

      Fuck you, buddy. $14? Everyone deserves a little dignity.

    • Rhyss says:

      Why dont people deserve any of the money they pay into the system such as unemployment or social security when they need it? As far as I know these things are automatically deducted from one’s check and are meant as a safety net. Not everyone needs it, but if you do its there. And again – it’s not free – you have already paid into the system for that very purpose. Nothings perfect, but jeez – judgemental much?

  8. Scorchio says:

    That distant scream you heard was the poor soul who donated it.

  9. DrLumen says:

    There was just a special on, I think it was CNBC, about a group that was selling art on their bogus “Fine Art Network”. They showed a lot of Picassos that were merely prints that they had made – complete with robo-signers shoveling “works” of art out the backdoor of their warehouse. I think those primarily were Giclee’s though but they were getting into sculptures and all kind of other art forms near the end. Those people did go to prison but there were slews of works sold as authentic reproductions that weren’t worth the paper they were printed on.

    Maybe he got really lucky finding an actual piece…

  10. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I hate reading crap like this because it never happens to me. Never.

  11. Sad Sam says:

    I say Awesome, what a great return on his initial “investment” and yay for Karma sending it to someone down on his luck.

  12. Conspirator says:

    $6,000 for your thrift shop find? In Nashville we call that chicken scratch:
    Sold! One Declaration of Independence copy
    Rare 1823 copy auctioned for $477,650 after being bought for $2.48

  13. KFW says:

    You might want to proof-read that first sentence again.

  14. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I have an artist’s proof an art student I had a huge crush on gave me in college. It’s a very nice composition, so I saved it. Too bad the guy never became a famous artist so I could sell it! Jerk!

  15. uber_mensch says:

    Meh… Picasso mass-produced his ‘art’ later in life, only signing what came out of his ‘art mill’.

  16. I'm Exitor says:

    I suspect one of the following will happen:

    1: He will be pressured into donating the money from the sale of the painting to the thrift store.
    2: if he is able to sell it the “appraiser” will say it’s fake (when in fact is not) but a very good one and offer $50 for it. The owner will sell it due to needing the money and the “appraiser” will sell it for the actual worth and make a tidy profit.

    He’ll get screwed somehow. Besides that if money is so tight why is he buying extras?

  17. HoJu says:

    I have a large space in a local multi-vendor thrift shop. My one major concern is that I will end up being the guy that sold him this for $14. I try to be vigilant in the stuff I sell but you never know whats going to slip by.

  18. PiratePrentice says:

    Well some people try to pick up girls
    And get called assholes
    This never happened to Pablo Picasso
    He could walk down your street
    And girls could not resist his stare and
    So Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole

    Well the girls would turn the color
    Of the avacado when he would drive
    Down their street in his El Dorado
    He could walk down you street
    And girls could not resist his stare
    Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
    Not like you

  19. loquaciousmusic says:

    I found a signed and numbered 1968 print by Mexican artist Jose Luis Cuevas in a local thrift store. I loved it — it was VERY 1960s — so I picked it up for $75 and had it reframed. It looks like his stuff is going at auction for anywhere from $2,500 and up…but I like the print so much that I’m not going to part with it.

    Unless it’s worth $363 million. Then I will.

  20. Jules Noctambule says:

    I found a Chagall piece for next to nothing at a street market back in the mid-90s; the museum that authenticated it was interested in buying, but I’m a huge fan so I kept it. It’s in a safe deposit box at the moment, but I hope to have it hanging in the house one day.