Updated: Jan 21
Purchased for just $30 at a yard sale and originally believed to be a Dürer reproduction, this little gem will soon make the anonymous owner filthy rich.
It all began when Boston art collector was on his way to an event when he realized he had forgotten to get a hostess gift. So on his way, he stopped at a bookstore in Cape Cod to purchase an item. While checking out, an employee at the bookstore told him about a drawing his friend had purchased at a yard sale and asked him to value it. They had been struggling to sell the pen and ink illustration, which was signed with the initials A.D.
A few weeks later, the art dealer returned to check out the drawing and was flabbergasted; it was definitely not a reproduction.
After consulting with multiple experts from around the world, and even traveling to consult with curators at London’s British Museum, he was able to authenticate that the illustration was created by the German engraver and artist Albrecht Dürer in 1503 (shown here).
It has since been titled the Virgin and Child with a Flower on a Grassy Bank and was most likely originally a sketch for one of the artist’s more famous watercolors.
It’s believed that the sketch was once owned by the Holy Roman emperor Rudolf II, before being seized by Napoleon’s forces in 1805. It then made its way into the French art market, eventually being purchased by an antique furniture dealer in 1919. Later, it was purchased by an art dealer and was then gifted to his son, the Boston architect Jean Paul Carlhian.
When the architect and his wife passed away, his daughters put it up for sale at an estate sale, believing the drawing to be a reproduction.
Valued at $30-50 million, the illustration is currently for sale at Agnews Gallery in London.