Goodwill in Maryland Finds Painting Worth $40,600! Was it an Organizer’s Mistake?
As an organizer, I often take clients’ donations to Goodwill. I rely on the client to know the value of what they own. Occasionally I’ll ask a client if we should sell an item or have something appraised before we simply put it in the donation box. Usually, they say, “Oh, that? It’s fake.”
The story was very different in Easton, Maryland, when a painting worth more than $40,000 was donated to Goodwill in error.
This impressionist street scene, “Flower Market” by Edouard-Leon Cortes, was dropped off at an Easton Goodwill store. An employee noticed the unusual painting and plucked it out of the day’s donations for special attention. The painting featured a gold embossed nameplate bearing the artist’s name and the painting’s title. The employee Googled the artist and compared the signature found on the painting with online sources. Excited the painting might be particularly valuable, Goodwill sent it to Sotherby’s for cleaning, authentication, and auction. Goodwill says that even if the owner didn’t intend to make such a large donation, she is out of luck because donations are not tracked and each is considered a legal and final transaction.
Just imagine, this beautiful work of art might have been yours for $100 at Goodwill.