That Trash May be Worth $1 Million

I read a fascinating (very interesting) story in the New York Times last week. A woman who lives in New York City was walking down the street one day when she saw a painting among some garbage bags on the sidewalk in front of a upscale (high class; wealthy) apartment building. It was a very large painting and she lived in a small apartment, but she really liked it and decided to take it home. She didn’t think the painting was worth any money and she kept it for three years before she found out that it was valuable, very valuable.


The painting had been stolen from a family in Houston, Texas, who had bought it for $55,000. For 20 years, no one knew where the painting was and it was considered a missing masterpiece (great piece of art). It is called “Tres Personajes” by famous Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. The woman who found the painting only discovered it was famous when she did some research about the painter, whose name is on the painting.

The painting is now estimated or valued at $1 million. It was returned to the widow (woman whose husband died) from whom it was stolen and will be auctioned off next month at a public sale where the person who gives the highest price will get it. The woman who found it got a reward from the family and a small fee from the auction company that will be auctioning it off.

So the next time you see a painting in the garbage, think twice before you pass it by. Who knows? It may be another missing masterpiece.

~ Lucy

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7 Responses to That Trash May be Worth $1 Million

  1. ESLPodcast Google Group says:

    Really a luck woman.
    There is a web site ( where you can search by stolen art before to pay $1 million for it.
    Is a good idea if you want to be a reward hunter.

  2. Thanongsak says:

    It so luck the old women

  3. Kobe.Su says:

    does anyone can tell what’s this painting about? why i only see some “tools” here?
    i will not be lucky as that old women if i pass it by :~~)

  4. Ari Fernando Ramos says:

    I`ll keep my mind on garbage bags from now on. Thanks for the advice.I’ve been learning a lot from ESL Pod.

  5. emiliano says:

    Some years ago there was a song that the liric in spanish was “la vida te da sorpresas, sorpresas te da la vida” (Life give you surprises, surprises give you the life) and this is what happen to this woman. But ¿is there any body in all world that may thinks a picture like that founded in the garbaged may cost such a lot of money?.
    But the most interesting thing of all the story I think is that the woman who found the picture liked it and taked it home despite the very large size of it. Undoubtedly she has a very good art taste.
    Congratulations to her whoever she is.

  6. Igor Grivko says:

    It reminds me a story about Van Gohg’s pictures that had a very little price when he was alive. Is this Mexican painter alive now? I am not very fond of new modern painting styles. It seems like picture without any distinct idea. I like more classic pictures – but tastes differ!

    So I guess that I probably would not take a picture like this to my home!

  7. apple says:

    I just read another story like this, a woman from Germany found a valuable painting from a very shagged sofa. I forget if she bought this sofa
    from flea market or just picked it up from the trash, anyway, she got this painting worthing $100,000, she decided to auction it too, and use
    the money to pay her college tuition.

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