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| || | Kobey’s Painting Brings
Six-Figures at Auction
Last November, a very special painting found its way into Kobey’s Swap Meet. The story behind it is the stuff of legends for collectors and treasure hunters alike, establishing once again that one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
The story begins when a long-time Kobey’s seller, who shall remain nameless, noticed a painting in a trash dumpster. It was a Friday evening and he had his truck loaded down with used merchandise to sell at Kobey’s the next morning. Exhausted, he threw the painting in the back of his truck with the rest of his “junk”.
When he got home, he called an associate to look the painting up, but she wasn’t available. Since the painting came from a dumpster, and because he was pooped, he didn’t give it another thought and went to bed.
When he entered the gate the next morning, a frequent early-bird shopper immediately offered to buy it. She asked how much. He came up with a quick figure of $175, not a bad price for a painting he found in the trash.
However, as soon as the words came out of his mouth, he knew he had made a grave error. Fellow vendors ran over asking about the painting and then he realized it was probably valuable. Biting his lip, he stuck by his word, allowing the woman to buy the painting at the price he quoted.
The painting at the center of the buzz is by plein air Impressionist Edgar Payne (1883-1947), a landscape painter who is credited for establishing the Laguna Beach Art Association and Art Gallery. Payne’s paintings have sold in the past for between $11,000 to $74,250.
According to Jeff Moran, of John Moran Auctioneers of Pasadena, CA, who later consigned the painting, our shopper didn’t know what it might be worth, but bought it simply because she liked it.
According to one source, as she carried it through the swap meet, Kobey’s sellers in the know began offering to buy it from her. According to accounts, she was offered over $10,000 before she walked out the gates. By that time, she was well aware she had something big.
Word from Jeff Moran is that the buyer eventually sold the painting to a Los Angeles dealer after constant harassment from people who knew she had it. According to our unfortunate seller, she received $40,000 for it.
Jeff Moran, the auctioneer, commented in a reply: “It [the painting] has caused a stir because it was such a rare find. This lucky person made the score. A lot of people had sour grapes in their mouth after the auction. It only made it worse since the painting ended up setting an auction record for the artist.”
According to three reliable sources our seller trusts, the painting finally auctioned for $187,000.
He admits with his chin up: “It’s the one that got away.”
All the way down the line, everyone involved profited in some way from this extraordinary find. The biggest contribution really comes from our seller, who took the few minutes to pull a California treasure from the trash. Instead of going into a landfill, it made its way back to humanity, making a few people a tidy profit along the way.
Find your hidden treasure this weekend at Kobey’s. You never know when you’ll encounter the find of your life!
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