Woman Bursts Into Tears Over Value Of Grandma's Painting
Marilyn Caylor 1/2/2019
Most people would probably agree that mosquitoes are anything but extraordinary creatures. These buggers seem to have no other function in life other than to punish us with cornrows of itchy bite marks and life-threatening diseases! However, every once in a while their very existence can serve a much bigger purpose, especially when their bodies become stuck like glue to grandma's favorite painting.
The dried-up corpse of a very old mosquito annoyed one young woman so much, she finally decided to remove the glass pane covering her nana's painting so she could flick it away. But, she got a funny feeling in the pit of her stomach as soon as she touched the canvas. Could it possibly be that this mosquito had been serendipitous in revealing a masterpiece?
When the popular television series Antiques Roadshow came to Harrisburg, a crowd of 5,000 showed up at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center to have their "valuables" evaluated by the experts. It was there that the young woman met with master appraiser Meredith Hilferty, who was instantly intrigued by the mosquito backstory.
"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 inherited the artwork from her grandmother, but didn't know much about the French-born artist, Henry Francosi Farny, who moved to northern Pennsylvania as a 6-year-old boy. She only knew that he fostered positive relationships with the Native Americans he came into contact with, and was even adopted into a Sioux tribe who gave him the name Long Boots.
The phenomenally beautiful artwork, which depicted a group of Sioux riding on horseback around the bend of a rocky mountain trail, was originally passed down to her grandmother when she was just 19 years old. It was her most prized possession, and hung over the elderly woman's bed until the day she passed away.
"Her dad, I'm guessing, would've given it to her after she spent the summer at a dude ranch when she was 19, in, like, the 40's."
The young lady always assumed the painting was just a cheap reprint that was only worth about $200, but she was brought to tears when she finally learned the truth behind her grandmother's most prized possession.
Two prior appraisals had the owner believing that the painting was only valuable from a sentimental perspective, but Meredith told the young woman otherwise. H. F. Farney's masterpieces are highly sought after because of his peaceful portrayal of Native American life, rather than conflict.
After Meredith revealed the true (huge) value of the hundred year old painting, the young woman was stunned. In between her tears, she found time to giggle when the appraiser told her that a conservator could have professionally removed the mosquito, and she could have continued to let it decay. But, had it not been for that pesky little bugger, she never would have discovered that she was the owner of this historically significant treasure.
She never knew she was actually sitting on a fortune, which is why her reaction is priceless.