EBay Auction Nets Over $600,000 for Lucky
possibly by Pier Francesco
17th century, oil on canvas
hereto see our fine art
02/08/2007 - Imagine being from a middle-class family from
southern California struggling to pay college tuition for your
daughter, then having a $600,000 eBay auction windfall fall
into your lap. Well, that's what happened to one family on
Super Bowl Sunday this year.
To raise tuition money, the unnamed couple decided to call
an Oakland auction house to sell several items the woman
inherited from her grandmother. They had no idea of what the
worth was of the items. One work was an oil painting which the
woman remembered from her childhood hanging in her
grandmother's house in Italy.
Estate sales are pretty common and the enterprising
auctioneer from Clars Auction Gallery of Oakland spread the
word across the U. S. and Europe that what appeared to be the
work of 17th century Italian master Pier Francesco Mola would
be put on the eBay auction block.
The owner knows only that the painting was a gift to her
grandmother. As the only surviving grandchild, she inherited
her grandmother's possessions after her death about two years
ago. She then moved those possessions to the United
States and stored them in the garage for several months.
Eventually, she hung the painting on the wall in her own
The item was auctioned on eBay on February 3, 2007,
Super Bowl Sunday, and the bidding started at $5000. Bidders
from around the globe offered extraordinary amounts for
this untitled, unsigned work. As bidding progressed, the owner
was astonished to find that at the end of the day, her
painting, unsigned and untitled, sold to a New York art dealer
While the family chooses to remain anonymous, what more
could a lucky teenager who has just had her entire college
tuition paid for say except, "Thank you, Grandma."
Brenda Harness, Art Historian
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