Woman Learns Thrift Store Painting She Bought for $4 Is Actually Lost Artwork That Could Sell for $250K

The painting is one of four illustrations for a 1939 edition of a novel called 'Ramona' by Helen Hunt Jackson

Talk about a good bargain! A painting that was initially purchased for $4 at a thrift store in New Hampshire could fetch up to $250,000 at auction.

Auction company Bonhams Skinner told PEOPLE the initial buyer was searching for used frames at a Savers store in Manchester when she found the painting in 2017. Despite being only $4, the painting by Newell Convers Wyeth was actually one of four illustrations for a 1939 edition of a novel called Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson.

“She was antiquing in search of old frames to repurpose when they found a large stack of frames leaning against the wall, mostly damaged posters and prints,” Bonhams Skinner said in a statement to PEOPLE. “The Wyeth painting, which was quite heavy and dusty, was in the middle of the stack and the consignor lifted it out and put it in a shopping cart.”

However, not knowing the item’s worth, the buyer hung the painting up in her bedroom for a few years before storing it “away again in a closet.” After doing some cleaning earlier this year, she discovered the item and “posted some images of it on a Facebook page called ‘Things Found in Walls,'" the auction house explained.

<p>Bonhams Skinner</p> Painting by Newell Convers Wyeth of Helen Hunt Jackson's novel Ramona

Bonhams Skinner

Painting by Newell Convers Wyeth of Helen Hunt Jackson's novel Ramona

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Painting conservator Lauren Lewis discovered the picture on Facebook and then drove three hours to view the painting in real life, according to the auction house.

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“There are a few scratches, little dings, darkened varnish, but nothing unexpected to a pairing of that age that has, in my opinion, never been touched,” Lewis told independent Boston-based station WHDH.

“They posted pictures of the front as well as the back, which was very helpful for me,” Lewis added. “There were some labels on the back, so I was interested.”

The outlet reported that the painting had been missing for 80 years.

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The painting is currently listed to sell between $150,000 and $250,000 on the Bonhams Skinner website.

Speaking about the seller, who wishes to remain anonymous, Lewis told WHDH that it could be a "life-changing" sale.

“These are not wealthy people," added Lewis. "It’s really great for them and it’s really great for the art world to find this painting again.”

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