$3 Goodwill purchase earns $190K at auction

Published: Mar. 6, 2012 at 3:50 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 16, 2012 at 2:51 PM EDT
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Source: WYFF
Source: WYFF

ANDERSON, SC (WYFF) - An 81-year-old Upstate man doesn't mind sharing his amazing tale, but he doesn't want to share his last name.

The Anderson County man, who's going by only "Leroy," said, "It's the biggest find I've ever had. It's that one thing you're always looking for. I'd like to get the big one. Well, that was the big one. I can only thank Goodwill for that."

He said about a year and a half ago he stopped by the Goodwill store on South Main Street in Anderson. While browsing, a framed painting caught his eye.

"I figured the picture frame was worth about $50 on the Internet (eBay). I figured the oil painting was out of the 1800s because of the frame it was in. I figured the painting maybe $100 or couple of hundred on the Internet," he said.

He bought the oil painting for $3.

The former antiques dealer from Massachusetts said he is an avid thrift store shopper. The majority of the items in his home were bought at second-hand stores.

A few weeks ago, his daughter-in-law visited the Antiques Roadshow and got an initial appraisal between $20,000 to $30,000.

"I might not know exactly what it is worth, I just know whether it's a good piece or it is not a good piece. And that's what happened with the painting, I didn't realize 1650 was the age of it. For that age, great picture. Great picture," Leroy said.

On Saturday, at an auction house in Massachusetts, the 362-year-old painting sold for $190,000.

Leroy says he was told the painting is from a Flemish school in Amsterdam.

According to an art website, Flemish art was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, in which there was attention to detail and bright colors. It mainly dealt with religious subjects and was often set in contemporary landscapes, townscapes and interiors.

"From what I understand, there were people from five foreign countries bidding on it and one person from the United States bidding. The gentleman who outbid was from Worcester, Mass.," said Leroy.

Leroy plans to split the money with his son and daughter-in-law. He will use his portion to do some home improvements.

He says the episode of the Antiques Roadshow featuring the painting will air in April. 

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.