A rare painting valued at $20,000 was recently discovered in a warehouse at the St. Vincent de Paul Villages Donation Center in San Diego, much to the excitement and awe of employees.
The painting – by early 20th century wildlife artist John Fery – was donated to St. Vincent de Paul and hauled to the donation center in a truck.
Employee Alejandro Miranda noticed the art piece while going about his daily duties unloading a donation truck. He told NBC 7 the frame of the painting caught his eye because it was a mid-century type frame.
“It looked kind of interesting. When I turned it around, it had a sticker on it and the sticker looked kind of old. I thought, ‘This is a very unique, unique painting,’” Miranda explained.
He placed the painting aside and he and his co-workers agreed to have it appraised.
What came next was a very pleasant surprise: the painting was identified as an original piece created by German-born artist John Fery.
St. Vincent de Paul then contacted Cal Auctions, a company that auctions off the organization’s valuable donations, and alerted auctioneers of the discovery.
“We realized it was a very valuable painting,” said Cal Auctions owner Jason Hanks.
Hanks’ company is now auctioning the painting off as part of the St. Vincent de Paul Villages Specialty Auction hosted on the Cal Auctions website.
Hanks said a rare find like this doesn’t come around too often and had everyone involved very excited.
“It was uplifting for everyone. It gets a lot of the guys who look through the trucks in the mornings really looking at things. Everyone wants to find that one great piece,” he said.
Miranda said it felt great to be the one to discover the painting in the truck.
“It’s like finding a treasure. We go through many, many trucks every week, every day and we don’t know what we’re going to find from one day to another,” said Miranda.
He said this serves as a reminder to himself and his co-workers to check all donations twice and not overlook anything.
Since obtaining the painting, Hanks said he’s done a lot of research on the artist. Hanks said Fery immigrated to the U.S. and spent a lot of time on hunting trips in the American northwest.
“He was captivated by the beauty of the glaciers and parks,” Hanks said.
Hanks said Fery was commissioned by the Great Northern Railroad System to create paintings of the scenery around Glacier National Park in Montana.
Hanks said the back of the rare painting now up for auction includes the letters “GNRR” written on the back, standing for the Great Northern Railroad.
The painting is up for auction now through July 16 at 12 p.m. Hanks said buyers can even preview the painting in person at his business’ location at 815 33rd St. on July 11, July 14 and July15.
Proceeds from the sale of the painting will help St. Vincent de Paul run its daily education and rehabilitation programs.