Finding Possible Picasso Painting at Yard Sale Not an Uncommon Occurrence

Art expert says finding potential hidden treasures amid "trash" not uncommon.

October 23, 2009, 11:38 PM

Oct. 24, 2009 -- At a neighbor's yard sale in a Shreveport, La., trailer park, Teisha McNeal found a colorful painting in a cheap frame with word "Picasso" scribbled on it.

The price tag? $2.

Was it trash or treasure?

For McNeil, it may have been the buy of a lifetime.

The chances of the painting being a genuine Picasso are next to nothing.

But McNeal did some research on the Internet and found that it looked surprisingly similar to a missing Picasso painting. She called the FBI and now they're analyzing the artwork.

"They told me that it looks like an original," McNeal told ABC News.

If it is real, it could fetch upwards of $2 million. But it wouldn't be the first time a masterpiece has been salvaged from the trash heap. It wouldn't even be the first Picasso.

An early work of the iconic Spanish artist was found tucked away in an attic in the United Kingdom last year. It scored $200,000 at auction.

Teri Horton, a long-haul truck driver bought a painting at a thrift store for $5. She later realized that her purchase may have been a Jackson Pollack, valued at $50 million.

She spent years trying to get it authenticated, an uphill battle featured in the 2006 documentary "Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?"

A genuine Da Vinci was once found hidden behind another painting.

"When I saw it, my heart beat a million times a minute," said Peter Silverman, an art collector and dealer.

In 2007, a man bought what turned out to be an original version of the Declaration of Independence from a Tennessee thrift store for $2.48.

Tossing Out Treasure

Elaine Strainton, vice president and executive director of paintings at Doyle New York, an auctioneer and appraiser of art, explains that cases such as these are not that uncommon.

"Most people have something that's worth more than they thought it was. It's surprising to how often that's the case," she said.

For the rare few who find these hidden treasures, it's like hitting the lottery.

But for those who have unwittingly sold a masterpiece for a pittance, it's enough to spark a blue period.

Edith Parker was the woman who sold the possible Picasso to Teisha McNeal at the yard sale.

"Makes me sick that I sold it for $2," Parker told ABC News.