There’s always that hope among flea market shoppers and garage sale pickers — maybe I’ll get a really lucky score today and uncover something priceless no one else has noticed. Most of the time that feeling peters out when walking away with a gently used coffee maker, but one woman reportedly scored a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir for a paltry $60 at a flea market.
The painting was part of a box of this and that purchased by the woman, and is scheduled to be auctioned off later this month by a fine arts and antiques auction gallery in Virginia, reports ABC News. “Paysage Bords de Seine” is estimated to go for between $75,000 and $100,000.
It wasn’t even the Renoir the buyer had ogled — it was far less classy fare that caught her fancy.
“What had actually caught her eye in the box wasn’t the valuable Renoir but a plastic cow and a Paul Bunyan doll. She stored the rest of the box’s contents first in a white plastic bag in a shed, later in her car’s trunk and eventually in her kitchen,” the auction company’s fine arts specialist said.
Even after the painting caught her attention, it was really the frame that she wanted and began taking the whole thing apart. Before she could toss the painting her mom suggested she take a closer look, you know, just in case. That “just in case” moment turned out to be worth it, when she spotted the name “Renoir” on the painting and took it in to have it authenticated.
There are records chronicling where the painting came from, but its last known owner was in Paris in 1926. However it ended up at a Virginia flea market is a mystery tailor-made for Antiques Roadshow.
Happy hunting, everyone.