Woman buy $9,000 painting for just $12.34 at Goodwill store

$9,000 art work  
By: Eva Fett  

A woman who thought she bought just an ordinary painting, got the shock of her life when it turned out that she discovered a true treasure, according to press reports.

"Red Nose" just meant a reindeer named Rudolph, to Karen Mallet, until she bought a print of that name for $12.34 at a Goodwill store in Milwaukee. It proved to be a lithograph by U.S. artist Alexander Calder worth $9,000.

The good fortune of Mallet, is at least the fourth time in six months that valuable art has appeared at Goodwill stores, where bargain hunters search for hidden treasure among the coffee cups, jewelry, lamps and other family cast-offs.

In another incident, a Salvador Dali drawing found in a Goodwill store in Tacoma, Washington, was sold for $21,000. Last Summer, a North Carolina woman pocketed more than $27,000 for a painting he bought for $9.99 at Goodwill. In spring, a dusty jar donated in Buffalo, New York, was found to be a thousands of years old American Indian artifact, it was returned to the tribe instead of being offered for sale.

When told about the finding of the woman in Milwaukee, a spokesperson for Goodwill said that their workers in its 2,700 stores try to detect valuables and auction those items on its website of the organization to net more money for the charity group. But things slip through the cracks and workers are not art experts.

"That's kind of part of shopping at Goodwill, the thrill of the hunt," Cheryl Lightholder, communications manager for Goodwill in southeastern Wisconsin, said. "You never know what you are getting."