CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - A painting that couldn't get 50 cents at a rummage sale sold for $19,000 at a Houston auction.
Proceeds from Sunday's auction will go to the Wenholz House in Corpus Christi, a former crack den that is now a self-supporting halfway house for 20 recovering alcoholics and drug abusers.
"It's awesome news," Wenholz House director Lou Cuneo said Monday. "Now we've got closure, we're going to be able to get a check and buy something tangible with it."
After the rummage sale, Cuneo on impulse looked up the signature on the aging, tobacco smoke-darkened oil painting and found out Alfred de Breanski was a 19th-century artist whose paintings sold for big money.
Simpson's Galleries in Houston cleaned up the painting and auctioned it for the house.
Bidding started at $10,000 for the 20 inches by 30 inches mountain landscape entitled "The Pass of Leney," gallery art expert Ray Simpson Jr. said.
"Fifty cents to $19,000 - that's a hell of a return," Simpson said.
Cuneo said the bulk of the money would go to outfit the kitchen, which among other things needs a $10,000 vent hood.
Cuneo told the person who donated the painting about it's estimated value before the auction, but the person wanted to keep it an anonymous donation to the house, Cuneo said.
De Breanski ( 1852-1928 ) often painted scenes of rural Scotland.