Dumpster painting sells for $103,000

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ATLANTA — While digging through a neighborhood trash bin in Boulder, Colo., a decade ago, Tammy Bullock found an oil painting “that just looked interesting.” She didn’t know it at the time, but the painting was by Takanori Oguiss (1901-1986) titled Coin De Paris, Rue de Meaux.

Oguiss painted many Parisian and Venetian street scenes and is well known in the international art community. No one knows how the valuable painting ended up in a Dumpster in Colorado.

Ugly. “The colors weren’t attractive. The frame was ugly — this just wasn’t anything I could put on my wall and be proud of,” Bullock said, but for some reason, she kept the painting in a closet in her home for 10 years.

“The painting fit in my closet — I even stored my children’s school papers behind it,” Bullock said. “I almost gave the painting away several times,” she recalled.

She said she often thought about selling the painting, but didn’t know how to go about it, until she saw a news story on a Denver television station that featured a new Web site: www.WorthPoint.com.

Expert. Bullock contacted Thom Pattie and sent him digital photos of the painting. Pattie recognized at once that the painting could be worth tens of thousands of dollars, conferred with several auction houses, and then helped her through the process of consigning it to Sotheby’s.

The painting, estimated by Sotheby’s at $70,000-$90,000, sold May 8 for $103,000 including buyer’s premium.

Bullock is elated: “To think that I actually have something that sold at Sotheby’s is probably more exciting than getting the money.”

She says she’ll give some of the money to charity, put it toward her daughter’s college education and her son’s new contact lenses — and maybe take a vacation.

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