130-year-old painting bought for $2.70 worth up to $10,000

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·2-min read

The owner of a piece of artwork painted nearly 130 years ago was left gobsmacked after a valuing expert revealed it was worth thousands more than the £1.50 (A$2.70) spent on it in the 1950s.

An Antiques Roadshow guest presented the painting, completed in 1891 by British artist Claude TS Moore, to the program's expert John Foster in an episode that aired this week.

The painting was purchased by her dad, a Dutchman, who was managing a restaurant at the time and wanted some artwork for a new coffee bar.

Claude TS Moore painting on Antiques Roadshow.
John Foster (right) delivered some shocking news about the Claude TS Moore painting. Source: BBC/Antiques Roadshow

"So he filled it with barrels and atlases and ship's lanterns and then he went looking for a painting and found a dealer who sold it to him for 30 shillings (equivalent of £1.50 or A$2.70)," the woman said.

"He got it home and found that it was called the Flying Dutchman which was the name of the coffee bar. Fantastic."

Foster was impressed by the details featured in the piece, specifically the faint outline of a ghost ship.

"What I love about it – the ghost ship there, the Flying Dutchman – and you know the story; if you saw the ghost ship you were pretty much doomed," he told the woman.

"I think he (Moore) was born in the 1850s but he died when he was in his late 40s. He was most known for his maritime scenes because he did such a good job of them," he said.

"You’ve got his signature there, Claude TS Moore. And what’s lovely is it’s dated on the back 1891."

The woman said she had previously sought valuing for the painting, but was left disheartened when she was told it was barely worth anything.

'I disagree with all of that'

"Somebody looked at it a couple of years ago, he said it was out of fashion now and the prices had plummeted and he wasn’t interested in it," she said.

Foster expressed he disagreed with the criticism, saying he thought such details were "cool".

"The thing is all that he’s saying 'out of fashion…condition issues', I disagree with all of that," he said.

He estimated the painting would sell at auction for between A$7000 and A$10,000.

"Wow. Okay. That's pretty good," the woman responded.

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