It had been a tense drive the whole way down.
He knew his mom and dad weren’t happy with his plan, but they also weren’t going to squash his hopes and dreams. He had clutched the painting tightly the entire way there. But as soon as the appraiser looked it over and gave him a number, he knew he had to sell it.
Mark wasn’t like most boys his age.
While the others were playing sports or diving into video games, he was sifting through auctions, thrift stores, and junk sales looking for unique treasures that could be worth more than their face value. His passion started with a famous television show – The Antiques Road Show.
Besides knowing everything about the guest appraisers, he had even gone as far as to watch the documentary that had inspired the renowned show.
So, when he spotted one particular painting in a stuffy New Jersey junk house, he begged his dad to stay long enough so he could buy it … for a mere $2.
Mark knew the easy part was done.
But the next stage would take some serious finagling or straight out pestering. He had to convince his parents to take him to the nearest Roadshow airing … in Virginia. He felt a rush of excitement when they finally buckled and loaded the family into the car. He needed to know what this painting was worth.
Dream Come True
The entire place was abuzz with cameramen, hosts, and eager guests.
Mark could smell the tinge of old wood, canvas, and metal. It was like heaven. But when they finally navigated to someone who could help them, he couldn’t believe his eyes! He had seen this man before.
It was David Weiss, the senior vice president of Freeman Auction house.
He ran up, shook the man’s hand, and gusted about the appraiser’s past appearances on the show. The man’s eyes went wide in shock. Obviously, he was surprised that a preteen would have this reaction. But the best part was still to come.
Mark sat tall and confident as Weiss set him up at the table and explained about the cameras.
However, inside he was jittering with excitement. It only got better when Weiss started asking questions – and Mark delivered totally unexpected answers that quickly changed the tone of the entire interview.
He asked what Mark like to collect.
He grinned and answered, “I like glass, sterling silver and art.” He also tried to sell his finds online to make a little profit. But he knew he had to wait until September to assess anything sterling silver because of market fluctuation. Weiss looked at Mark in amazement. But it was time to get to the main event.
Mark guessed it was a watercolor by someone named Albert, but he couldn’t find out anything else. All he knew is that he wanted to sell it.
Weiss grinned and confirmed Mark was right. The artist was Albert Neuhuys a well-known Dutch painter that liked to focus on rural family life. “How much do you think this is worth?” Weiss asked.
“Hundred and fifty bucks,” Mark answered confidently.
Making that much money off a 2-dollar investment would have been amazing. The appraiser’s grin changed, and it make Mark’s excitement skyrocket. “It’s worth more than that,” Weiss said.
“I think your watercolor was probably done in the last quarter of the 19th century,” Weiss said.
“Today, if your Albert Neuhuys watercolor came to an auction, it would probably sell for about $1000 to $1500.” It was Mark’s turn for his jaw to hit the floor. Out of the corner of his eye he also saw his parents’ reaction.
It was a mixture of shock and pride.
It wasn’t the first time Mark’s persistence had turned a profit, and they were already so happy he had such a unique hobby, but this was the biggest dollar amount he had made so far. Weiss also had a number of compliments that would turn his face red.
Weiss though even though Mark still had lots to learn if he wanted to become a professional, he was already leaps and bounds ahead of any other dealer was when they were that young.
He was also impressed that Mark had made such a wonderful find on instinct alone.
The muted image of a farm wife and her child took on an entirely different light.
So did his parents’ attitude about the entire trip. He felt a new, intense itch to get online and learn more so he could hone his skills, and hopefully visit some auction houses soon.
The entire experience was amazing!
Mark sat in the car with his original Neuhuys with a huge smile plastered across his face. He loved his unusual hobby more than anything, but now he knew he could make a career of it. And, who knows, maybe be rich one day!