Woman Finds Out A Statue She Bought At A Garage Sale Might Be Worth More

Published on 06/29/2020
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When you’re out shopping at garage sales and things like that, you can never really know what you’ll find. Well, one lucky woman from St. Louis got the surprise of a lifetime after she bought herself a little statue at a garage sale.

Old Rates

The item she bought was a little Buddhist statue. She paid about $75-$100 for it and didn’t think much of it. She simply saw the statue and thought it was beautiful. And so, she went ahead and bought it for herself.

Old Rates

Old Rates

Locals

“There was a local person who was a colorful character in Kirkwood, so I really wanted to get to his garage sale (so) I rushed out.” The woman said. Despite its beauty, the little statue was a little damaged – it was missing a hand as well as an arm.

Locals

Locals

Put It Up For Sale

After taking it to be valued on a St. Louis episode of the TV show, she had put it up for sale. “I almost didn’t have a chance to acquire it, because I was having 15 people for lunch,” she said to Robert. She said she had paid, “probably between $75 and $100, which was a lot for me. It was about 20 years ago.” She continued, “The dealers had been there for two days before, so I thought everything good would be gone.”

Put It Up For Sale

Put It Up For Sale

A Little Battered

However, this woman still adored it. She had purchased the item almost 20 years ago now. At the time, the amount she paid was a lot for her. Still, this woman didn’t know much about the battered little statue.

A Little Battered

A Little Battered

Proud Owner

She bought the statue in 1997 and took it home. Once she got home, she perched the statue on a shelf in her living room for all to see. She was proud to own such a beautiful piece. As time went by, the woman didn’t think much about the little statue in her living room. She had no idea it would turn her life upside down in the future.

Proud Owner

Proud Owner

Damaged

The small statue had lost almost all its gilt and was also missing one hand and one arm. Still, “I thought it was so beautiful, I just grabbed it… I didn’t mind the damage,” she said. Robert said to her, “It’s likely that the quality would indicate that it’s an imperial piece”. As for its value, he said, “A very conservative retail price would be $100,000–125,000.” However, the appraiser had said he’s “stopped being surprised” when auction prices for these kinds of items end up being much higher.

Damaged

Damaged

Big Change

It turns out that the Buddha statue wasn’t just a common piece of art… So what was it? The years went by and this woman went about her life as usual. She had no idea what was going to happen in 2017. Her whole life was about to be changed.

Big Change

Big Change

Antiques Roadshow

There is a tv show that focuses on antiques named Antiques Roadshow. Well, the show stopped in St. Louis and the woman wanted to find out if her little Buddha statue was worth the price she paid for it.

Antiques Roadshow

Antiques Roadshow

Appraisal

And so, she got the statue appraised by the show’s appraiser, Robert Waterhouse. After close examination, the appraiser paused. The woman held her breath, waiting for the verdict. Had she overpaid? Was it worth more?

Appraisal 

Appraisal

An Imperial Piece

“So it’s likely that the quality would indicate that it’s an imperial piece.” Well, this woman got a great return on investment. In fact, it turned out to be a cool 57% per year. Wow. However, she isn’t the only one to find out an item she owns is worth a lot. Let’s take a look at someone else who happened to get lucky as well. This passionate young collector had a feeling about a painting he had purchased.

An Imperial Piece

An Imperial Piece

Real Value

Robert looked up at the woman. He told her this statue could sell for $100,000 or more! What? The woman couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She was shocked. Robert explained that he thought the statue might be from the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century, making it very valuable.

Real Value

Real Value

For Sale

Of course, the woman decided she would sell the artifact. And so, she put it up for auction in the New York auction house. The statue featured the “Cintamanicakra Avalokiteshvara,” a type of Buddha. It turned out that the statue was dated back to the late Tang Dynasty, which ended in 907, or from early in the Five Dynasties period that followed. How much would it sell for?

For Sale

For Sale

Incredible Success

Even though the statue was missing an arm and a hand, it seemed that buyers were more than interested in it. In fact, after an intense 7-minute long bidding battle, the Buddha statue was sold for a whopping $2.1 million!

Incredible Success

Incredible Success

Increase In Demand

There has been a huge increase in demand from wealthy Chinese for top-quality Buddhist antiques. This item was most likely sold to a collector in mainland China or among the Chinese diaspora around the world. “Very good Buddhist works of art have achieved strong prices in galleries and in auctions,” he said. “Those who understand Buddhist works of art from that period would look at this object and say it’s beyond a very wealthy patron’s quality of bronze,” Robert said.

Increase In Demand

Increase In Demand

Painting

In 2013, he appeared on the show Antiques Roadshow to have his painting appraised and valued. The boy sat across the appraiser, David Weiss. When it came to the arts, David was an expert. In fact, he was the most knowledgable person about paintings and drawings in the American version of the show. He has plenty of experience with all kinds of auction houses.

Special Interview

Painting

Young Trader

Even at a young age, the boy was an avid collector and trader of antiques. However, he hadn’t realized just how rare the painting he bought was. He simply saw the painting and thought it was unique enough to be worth something. He had no idea just how incredible it really was. You might be wondering how much the boy had paid for the painting. Well, he paid $2 for it. David questioned the young boy about the painting. He asked the collector how much he knew about the painting.

Antique Trader

Young Trader

Learning About The Show

“You must be the youngest collector that I’ve seen,” David said. The boy smiled at the expert and said, “I think so.” The boy had learned about the show not long before that. He had begged his parents to take him on the show. He was sure he could get hundreds of dollars for the painting he bought. Eventually, his parents agreed to go. The family drove a while to reach their destination in Virginia. 

Young Man's Passion

Learning About The Show

Getting There

When he and his parents got to the event, the boy couldn’t contain his excitement. The main reason he was able to make it on the show was thanks to his hobby of collecting antiques. David was absolutely amazed when he found out the boy bought all kinds of different antiques aside from the painting. While interviewing the young boy, David realized he had been collecting items longer than he had expected.

Convincing His Parents

Getting There

Collecting Items

David asked the boy about the items he liked to collect. His reply? “I like glass, sterling silver, and art.” David couldn’t help but be curious about the other items that the young boy had collected. Which one gave him the motivation to collect antiques at all? It appeared that the boy was knowledgable on the topic of antiques. He said to David that his absolute favorite antique was one he had recently found – a large silver serving platter. 

His Favorite Objects To Collect

Collecting Items

Significant

Ever so curious, David asked the young boy if he normally kept the items he found at different auctions. The answer was rather obvious to most older antique enthusiasts. Most older collectors collected antiques due to their value, not to keep in their possession. However, there were some kids who liked keeping their finds for themselves since they think it has significance in their lives.

Keeping The Items

Significant

Online Sales

David, and even the producer of the show, didn’t expect the amount of experience the boy had. Especially when the boy said to them, “I like to sell them online”. The appraiser couldn’t believe it. He asked, “You like to sell them?” The professional didn’t expect a kid to do something a grown-up would typically do. David was surprised that the young man knew just how to buy and sells the items he had gathered. 

Selling Online

Online Sales

Market Price

David was convinced that this boy was the most unforgettable guest on the show. He knew he had to learn everything about the boy’s passion for antiques before he could assess the painting he had brought in. He was very interested in the boy himself. He wanted to know more about him. He said, “Have you made a lot of money selling silver, you’d say?” No one knew what his reply would be. The young boy told David that he waited until September to sell what he had found. That was when it was expected that the market price would change. 

Business Minded

Market Price

Getting The Painting

The most exciting part of the entire ordeal in David’s eyes was the way this boy got a hold of the painting. He had assumed that he had gotten it at a garage sale. He was mistaken, however. It turns out that the boy had asked his father to go into the junky auction house in their town during the summer. The boy begged and was then able to wait for the chance to bid for an art piece. They had been in an auction down in South Jersey. It had been so hot that the boy’s dad wanted to leave even before they had gotten the panting.

A Piece Of Painting

Getting The Painting

Meaningful Story

Still, the boy convinced his dad to stay and allow him to get the painting. It was only two dollars when he bought it. The young boy thought it might have a significant story behind it when it was made. It was difficult for the boy to know where the portrait came from. That was also the reason he wanted to go to Antiques Roadshow. The painting itself looked like just another ordinary painting to those who were watching the show – even David himself.

On The Sunny Side

Meaningful Story

One Detail

However, he still understood that the boy had a way of telling if an item is valuable or not. David looked at the portrait properly for the first time. He realized it was painted with earthy colors. The concept drawn on the canvas was a mother sitting on a chair who tried reaching for her child in front of her. The child in the painting also sat on a chair that was set next to the mother. Still, there was one thing the boy hadn’t noticed when buying the painting.

Mother And Child

One Detail

Stepping In

David was still testing the boy, trying to see how much he knew on the subject of antiques and old works of art. He was amazed by the boy’s calmness during the entire interview. The boy told the appraiser that he noticed something in the painting after he bought it. The entire thing was done with watercolor. Still, the boy had a hard time explaining what he wanted to since the painting was behind glass. David then decided to step in.

Expert In Arts

Stepping In

Real Value

The boy’s hunch about his painting was right on target. The portrait was done with watercolors. At such a young age, this collector already knew so much and was attentive to the amount of silver he sold in public. On top of that, he was very knowledgable on gathering items. Still, the only problem was his inexperience about the value of the items. David had been trying to see if the boy had developed his skill as an appraiser.

Skill In Appraising

Real Value

Quick Assessment

When the boy finally made a quick assessment, he noticed something at the bottom of the painting. He could only make out part of the name, but David understood the second half of the signature. It was almost as if he recognized the signature at first glance. He wanted to improve the boy’s skill of appraising rather than saying straight out what the value of the painting was. The professional asked the boy to repeat what he told him before.

Improve The Child's Talent

Quick Assessment

The Signature

Before they got to the official assessment of the portrait, David wanted to discuss the painting itself. He wanted the boy to explain the story behind the painting from what he could see. When he did, David realized the true passion the boy had for arts. In his mind, he had a serious possibility of becoming an appraiser when he grew up. The young boy described each and every detail of the signature flawlessly.

Albert Neuhuys' Painting

The Signature

Albert Neuhuys

The only part the boy could explain was the first name. By that point, David told the boy the last name of the signature. The name of the artist was Albert Neuhuys. In the 19th century, Albert was a great painter in the Netherlands. David said that Albert and other painters of the era normally created a set of life at home. The painting the boy purchased showed just that. A scene of a mother and child.

19th Century Painter

Albert Neuhuys

Era Of Peaceful Painting

The same artist also enrolled in Laren School. It was a Dutch artist colony, and he studied with all kinds of painters like Jozef Israels. From the country lifestyle, Albert was transferred to an industrial country. When he moved, he started painting with passion. Albert’s peaceful painting style influenced the entire era. Painting was his source of income. Most of his works depicted scenes of people’s daily lives inside their homes.

Era Of Peaceful Painting

Era Of Peaceful Painting

One Of The Dutch Painters

This particular painting that the boy brought in was of a mother sewing in her chair while her child was sitting and watching her work. The painting also portrayed all kinds of domestic tasks in the country life such as farmers working in the field. Most of Albert’s artwork had been included in some of the most famous art museums all over the world. Still, one of his paintings just so happened to be owned by this boy.

One Of The Dutch Painters

One Of The Dutch Painters

The Guessing Game

On the show, the experts often enjoyed letting the guests try and estimate the worth of the items they bring in. However, they wouldn’t be too surprised if their guess would be higher than the item’s actual value. This was the reason they had traveled so far to appear on the show. Still, the expert shared the background of this painting, and he wanted to let the boy guess the worth of the painting.

The Guessing Game

The Guessing Game

What’s The Real Worth

David asked the boy, “How much do you think is worth?” The young boy was silent for a few moments, taking his time to really think it through. He was deep in thought, David watching him, trying to figure out the boy’s process. Looking at the painting intently, the boy contemplated. After figuring out the math in his head, he came to an estimate he thought was true. He turned to David and said, “Hundred and fifty bucks.”

What's The Real Worth

What’s The Real Worth

A Hundred And Fifty Short

The boy couldn’t contain his enthusiasm. After David repeated the number, the boy added, “I think it’s worth a hundred and fifty. I think it’s worth more than one hundred and fifty.” The boy let the appraiser look closely at the painting. The expert said, “Today, if your Albert Neuhuys watercolor came to an auction. It would probably sell for about $1000 to $1500.” The boy couldn’t hide his shock. 

A Hundred And Fifty Short

A Hundred And Fifty Short

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