This Antique Appraiser Said A High School Art Project Was Worth $50,000


An antique appraiser with 20 years of experience under his belt thought this jug made in a high school art class was actually a 100-year-old jug reminiscent of Picasso.

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Alvin Barr, a Florence, Oregon resident, found the jug at an estate sale in Eugene covered in dirt, straw, and chicken poop, he said in a January episode of Antiques Roadshow on PBS.

We are all-new TONIGHT at 8/7c on @PBS. Does this face jug speak to you, and what does it say?

He took one look at this ugly mug and just had to have it. He paid $300 for it.

Stephen Fletcher, an appraiser featured on the show, was just as impressed as Barr with the jug, calling it "bizarre and wonderful."

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He estimated the jug could have been created as far back as the late 19th or early 20th century.

"Estimating its value is a little difficult," he said. "I think in a retail setting, somebody might well ask in the area of between $30,000 and $50,000 for this."

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Barr told Fletcher he was afraid he had overpaid for the jug.

Turns out the appraiser was very wrong. The jug was actually a 1973 high school art project of Betsy Soule.

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Soule, who is now a horse trainer in Oregon, told The Bend Bulletin she was shocked to learn one of her high school art projects could be worth $300.

"I was just a really passionate, artistic kid," she told the newspaper. "I don't know where those faces came from; they just came roaring out of me onto those pots."

"I was fooled," said Fletcher in a correction statement on the show's website.

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"Obviously, I was mistaken as to its age by 60 to 80 years," he said.

"I feel the value at auction, based on its quality and artistic merit, is in the $3,000-$5,000 range.

"Still not bad for a high schooler in Oregon."