Los Angeles, California — Two Small Boxes Bought for Only $45 (negotiated down from $70) Estimated to be Worth at Least $200 Million, According to a Beverly Hills Art Appraiser.
Garage sale hobby turns into multi-million dollar find for Fresno, California painter.
Rick Norsigian bought two small boxes 10 years ago at a garage sale for $45. The boxes contained 65 glass negatives created by famous nature photographer Ansel Adams during the early days of his career. Experts and historians were under the impression that these negatives had been completely destroyed in a 1937 darkroom fire, along with 5,000 other similar plates.
“It truly is a missing link of Ansel Adams and history and his career,” said David W. Streets, the appraiser and art dealer who is hosting an unveiling of the photographs at his Beverly Hills, California, gallery Tuesday.
Streets went on to say that the photographs appear to have been taken sometime between 1919 and the early 1930s. This is well before Adams, who is commonly known as the father of American photography, became nationally recognized in the 1940s.
Photography expert Patrick Alt helped confirm the authenticity of the negatives. Alt suspects Adams carried the negatives with him to use in a photography class he was teaching in Pasadena, California, in the early 1940s. “It is my belief that he brought these negatives with him for teaching purposes and to show students how to not let their negatives be engulfed in a fire,” Alt said. “I think this clearly explains the range of work in these negatives, from very early pictorialist boat pictures, to images not as successful, to images of the highest level of his work during this time period.”