There’s nothing like opening an old piece of furniture to discover a forgotten heirloom or piece of jewelry, but not many people have the experience of stumbling upon priceless pieces of art. Many of these pieces are unique—but not nearly as unique as the stories behind their discovery! We share five stories from accidental art collectors who stumbled upon valuable treasures.
Magnolias on Gold Velvet Cloth
How fitting that this stunning painting by Martin Johnson Heade was discovered while playing the board game Masterpiece! The owner used the painting, which they had bought in a thrift store, to cover a hole in their wall. But when they noticed a reproduction of a similar painting in the board game, they realized they owned the original—which sold for $1.25 million!
Venus de Milo
This famous armless sculpture is well known by art lovers and history buffs alike, but it may have almost been lost to time. It was discovered on the island of Milo in 1820 by a peasant. When the French heard of this discovery, they relocated the statue to the Louvre, where it currently stands.
Andy Warhol Sketch
Imagine taking out the trash and accidentally throwing away a piece of paper worth $2 million. That could have been the fate of a sketch created by Andy Warhol when he was 10 years old. Luckily, it was snatched up by a buyer for a mere $5 at a garage sale.
Thrift shops and consignment stores are often a treasure trove of antiquated artifacts, but it’s not every day that an original piece by the famed Pablo Picasso is sold. One simple but signed Picasso piece was authenticated after being purchased for $14.14 at an Ohio thrift store. They later went on to sell it for $6,000.
In perhaps one of the strangest discoveries of famous art, this unknown Venetian painting was discovered inserted inside of a piece of furniture! It was placed inside of a pullout couch purchased from a flea market in Berlin. The couch set the buyer back $215, but they were able to sell the painting for a whopping $27,630.
A watchful eye and a bit of luck can turn seemingly everyday objects into a major investment. To try your hand at the process, find your nearest Home Consignment Center today. We have locations across California and Texas, each with a distinctly local flavor and feel!