Picking with Reyne – Vol 14 – By Reyne Haines

August 9th, 2010 by

This was an exciting week in the world of picking.  CNN first reported a guy who was a garage sale enthusiast who had purchased a set of negatives some years ago for $45.00.

Recently the buyer took a closer look at them and thought they might be something. He showed them to an unnamed appraiser, only to be told they were the works of Ansel Adams and worth $200 million dollars.

Now, I can only imagine how visions of new cars, homes and trips around the world were running through his mind. I know they would be if it was me (ok, maybe visions of Christian Louboutin’s, a vintage Corvette, and a home on the ocean…)

In the meantime, the press catches wind of the story and reaches out to Ansel Adams grandson who reviews them and does not believe they are the works of his grandfather.

The owner of the negatives plans to setup a website to sell prints of the images on the negatives  for $45 for a poster and $7500 for a darkroom print.  The managing director for the Ansel Adams Publishing Trust is considering suing the buyer for using a copyright name for commercial purposes.

We’ve all had finds over the years we’ve thought were something, only to find out later they were a clever fake.  Whether is a reproduction piece of furniture, a lamp, or a painting…you have to be careful.  Take the time to do due diligence before buying, or making a claim like this owner has. That initial $45 investment might end up costing him millions before it’s all said and done.

Tell us your stories of great finds that turned out to be great duds here!