If it hand’t been for a mosquito, this young woman would never had known her grandmother’s painting was so valuable.
The grand-daughter inherited the painting that always hung above her grandmother’s bed not knowing if it was a print or a painting. Twice, general house appraisals had pegged it as a print worth around $250. But when she got the picture she noticed a mosquito under the glass. Opening it up to clean it, she realized the picture actually looked like a real painting.
That’s when she decided to bring it to the Antiques Roadshow. She explained:
“I took it out to the front yard and I opened it up to get the mosquito out, so I could take it with me to college, and then it kind of scared me a little. I closed it back up immediately because it looked like it might be real.”
She told appraiser Meredith Hilferty that her grandmother got the painting from her father after she spent time at a dude ranch in 1940 when she was 19 years old.
She went on to explain she knew only a little bit about the painter – H. F. Farney. Farney was a French-born artist who moved to Pennsylvania as a young boy. She said she knew he developed friendships with the Native Americans in the area, and was eventually adopted into a Sioux tribe (and given the name “Long Boots”, regularly painting them in their every-day lives.
This particular watercolor painting depicts a group of Sioux riding on horseback through a rocky mountain trail.
Hilferty explains that Farney’s works are collectible because unlike other painters of the time, his pictures often portray peaceful scenes rather than ones with conflict.
The dense number of figures in the picture, which was painted during his most prolific period when he was at the top of his skills, would be highly sought after by collectors. So when Hilferty tells the young woman what the painting is worth, she breaks into tears. It’s a shock, but she would never have discovered its true value if not for that mosquito.
Watch the video below for the heartwarming reveal and why the woman jokes at the end that she’ll be keeping it away from her dog.