The painting is one of four illustrations for a 1939 edition of a novel called 'Ramona' by Helen Hunt Jackson
Talk about a good bargain! A painting that was initially purchased for $4 at a thrift store in New Hampshire could fetch up to $250,000 at auction.
Auction company Bonhams Skinner told PEOPLE the initial buyer was searching for used frames at a Savers store in Manchester when she found the painting in 2017. Despite being only $4, the painting — by Newell Convers Wyeth — was actually one of four illustrations for a 1939 edition of a novel called Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson.
“She was antiquing in search of old frames to repurpose when they found a large stack of frames leaning against the wall, mostly damaged posters and prints,” Bonhams Skinner said in a statement to PEOPLE. “The Wyeth painting, which was quite heavy and dusty, was in the middle of the stack and the consignor lifted it out and put it in a shopping cart.”
However, not knowing the item’s worth, the buyer hung the painting up in her bedroom for a few years before storing it “away again in a closet.” After doing some cleaning earlier this year, she discovered the item and “posted some images of it on a Facebook page called ‘Things Found in Walls,'" the auction house explained.
Painting conservator Lauren Lewis discovered the picture on Facebook and then drove three hours to view the painting in real life, according to the auction house.
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“There are a few scratches, little dings, darkened varnish, but nothing unexpected to a pairing of that age that has, in my opinion, never been touched,” Lewis told independent Boston-based station WHDH.
“They posted pictures of the front as well as the back, which was very helpful for me,” Lewis added. “There were some labels on the back, so I was interested.”
The outlet reported that the painting had been missing for 80 years.
The painting is currently listed to sell between $150,000 and $250,000 on the Bonhams Skinner website.
Speaking about the seller, who wishes to remain anonymous, Lewis told WHDH that it could be a "life-changing" sale.
“These are not wealthy people," added Lewis. "It’s really great for them and it’s really great for the art world to find this painting again.”
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