If you’ve watched Storage Hunters, you’ll know that no matter how much strategy and research you put into your container bid, it’s hit and miss.
People have spent their entire budget on a container of empty boxes or creepy kids toys, while others get incredibly lucky, scoring big on their purchases.
An American art dealer, David Killen, recently dropped $15 000 (R220 000) on what he thought was a storage locker of junk, only to find himself in possession of six paintings by Dutch-American abstract master Willem de Kooning.
If you’re not clued up on your art history, this is all you really need to know: The last time they auctioned off a De Kooning (below), it went for $66,3 million (around R970 million).
In short, the contents of that storage locker could fetch a pretty penny. And it doesn’t stop at the De Koonings. Killen also found a painting by Swiss modernist Paul Klee. Business Day reports that:
The art originally came from the studio of Orrin Riley, a superstar in the art restoration business who died in 1986, leaving everything to his partner, Susanne Schnitzer, who was killed in a traffic accident in 2009.
Her executors — friends in New Jersey — spent years trying to find rightful owners for the art, but no one came forward to claim the 200 pieces languishing in the storage unit, near the Ho-Ho-Kus township.
“Honestly all I knew was (an)other auction house passed on it, so my feeling was it was a bunch of junk,” Killen told AFP by telephone.
“All these things are boxed up. I said ‘look I’ll give you $15,000 for it. I’ll take a chance,” he said. If nothing else, he thought the items would pad out auctions he holds every two weeks.
It was only when the items were being unloaded that Killen, uniquely skilled considering his profession, identified the work of both Riley and De Kooning.
The work is not signed, but Killen said a restorer based on Long Island, who used to work for both Riley and De Kooning, had authenticated the works.
“I can see in his eyes, he’s shaking,” Killen told AFP. “He said ‘this is exactly what de Kooning was doing in the ‘70s, one after the other.” The New York Post quoted Lawrence Castagna, an art restoration expert based in East Hampton, as confirming the works were by the master.
It’s lucky for Killen that the storage container was sturdy enough to preserve the long-lost works of art. It’s estimated that the works could fetch anything up to $10 million when they go up for auction later this year.
When asked what he planned on doing with his soon to be acquired millions?
“New doors for his gallery and a “really nice apartment”, he replied.”
Treat yourself, man.
As for those who have valuables that need safe and reliable storage, you should check out Stor-Age.
Their facilities are conveniently located countrywide, which means you don’t have to drive out to the middle of nowhere when you want to access your stuff. Also, they have units of various sizes, meaning that you only pay for the space you need.
For added peace of mind, their units are access-controlled and insured, with 24-hour CCTV security, so no one’s going to make off with that masterpiece.
Goods can be stored for as long as you need, and no long-term contracts are required.
Better still, we’ve landed a 2OV special, with 50% off your first month’s storage.
This way you can rack up those works of art, and store them till they, like the De Kooning masterpieces, fetch a mean price at auction.
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