Every once in awhile I hear a story about someone just stumbling upon an unbelievable find in a small shop or flea market located in Nowhere, USA.
In 1987, a 74 year-old woman bought a dinner-table-sized painting for $5 at a thrift shop in California. That painting was that of none other than the infamous Jackson Pollock. The painting has an estimated worth of around $50 million.
Then there is the man who bought a torn painting at a flea market for $4 because he liked the frame. When he got home, he removed the torn painting from the frame only to find an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, one of twenty-four known copies. It sold for $2.4 million and change at auction.
AND then a 72 year-old woman found a rare baseball card in her basement. It featured the very FIRST professional baseball team in the United States, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings! She was going to sell the card on Ebay for $10 before her friend intervened. The card fetched a little over $75,000 at auction.
Of course, these types of finds are not all about the money. It just amazes me what some people stumble upon. In a recent architecture newsletter, I came across a story containing new, unseen photos of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin. According to the newsletter, the Wisconsin Historical Society acquired the photos after an antique shop owner put them up for auction on Ebay. ABSOLUTELY INSANE!! I am an avid fan of Wright’s and I am glad the photos were purchased by a group that will keep them together and have them publicly available! The photos date from 1911-1912 and show the construction of the original Taliesin up to final completion before it was damaged by fire in 1914 and again in 1925. Perfect timing for marking the centennial celebration of the Taliesin! Such an incredible find!
The southeast elevation of Taliesin in the winter of 1912.
I just love the lines this angle shows.
Entrance loggia and kitchen windows from the courtyard of the house + studio.
The dining room.
The courtyard garden looking toward the hill garden.
Looking toward the entry loggia from the hill.
The north elevation and loggia terrace. The terrace walls are made of rubble masonry. The living room chimney and windows are in the background.
Who knows what other great finds are sitting in the corner of some shop just waiting to be found and shared with the world!! Damn I love the mysterious possibilities of antique/thrift shopping!
More information + photos of the Taliesin can be found here.