Thrift Store Shopper Joked She Had Found a Famous Artist’s Work for $4 – and She Actually Had

A painting found in a New Hampshire attic could fetch between $250,000 and $3 million after the owner bought it at a thrift store for just $4. That’s because it’s a lost work by prolific Maine artist N. C. Wyeth, whose signature was on the painting itself, but which the buyer assumed was simply a forgery. The painting is one of four that Wyeth completed in a 1939 edition of Helen Hunt Jackson’s book Ramona, originally published in 1884. According to auction house Bonhams Skinner, the thrift shopper found the painting leaning against a wall at Savers Thrift Shop in Manchester, NH, stacked alongside other prints and posters. She bought the painting because she was looking for frames to reuse. After not being able to find any information on the work, the buyer hung it on her bedroom wall, but after a few years ended up stashing it in the attic. During spring cleaning this year, she came across the painting again, and this time posted pictures of it on a Facebook group dedicated to people finding things salvaged from attics, basements, and abandoned houses. She connected with a former curator who had handled paintings from three generations of the Wyeth family and he knew almost immediately that the piece was legitimate. The painting is believed to be most likely a gifted piece from the publishers Little, Brown and Company to an editor or to the estate of the author. The painting is scheduled to be auctioned on September 19th in Marlborough, Mass.