Where’s My Thrift Store Picasso?

Did you hear about the guy in Ohio who bought a Picasso print from a thrift store for $14, then discovered it wasn’t a reproduction after all but a genuine, original poster signed by the artist himself and turned around and resold it for $7000?

This pisses me off.

Because if anybody appreciates a good thrift store bargain, it’s me. I frequently scour the aisles of my local Value Village in search of inexpensive treasures, but do you have any idea how many times I’ve found a work of art by a famous artist and made a 500% profit? I’ll tell you how many: ZERO. Sure, I’ve found my share of warped records and dogeared paperbacks and chipped drinking glasses and faded flannel shirts, but an undiscovered Monet or Van Gogh has never once found its way into my shopping cart. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the dude. He’s unemployed, and can use the money. But, hello – same here! I don’t ask for much in life. Just a roof over my head and food on my table and a priceless work of art that I can resell for a huge return on my investment.

C’mon, Universe. Help a brother out here!

Why can’t I find one of these for fourteen bucks at Value Village?

I’m also irritated that I can wander through a vintage store and find really cool things like dogs playing poker tapestries and glass milk bottles and classic rock albums and metal lunch boxes and posters from World’s Fairs gone by and yet my local neighborhood garage sale has nothing but cracked Tupperware canisters and tacky Christmas figurines. Obviously I’m shopping in the wrong ‘hood.

Oh, well. Guess I’ll just have to make my fortune the old-fashioned way and work for it. Grr.

Speaking of garage sales, Tara and I had one on Saturday morning. Our goal wasn’t to make a lot of money but merely to get rid of some of the really cool things my girlfriend made me get rid of when she moved in duplicates we had between us. And it’s a good thing too, because lemme tell ya, customers weren’t exactly flocking in off the street. We were “open” an entire hour before the first person even stopped, and when he walked away after spending a whopping $2 I figured the writing was pretty much on the wall. Luckily business picked up a little after that, but we still only managed to pull in $60, which is fine – it’s seed money for our Broncos fund (we’re hoping to fly to Denver to catch a game this October). We stopped the sale at noon and then donated everything that didn’t sell to the Value Village mentioned above. You know, the place that has never once sold me a rare Pablo Picasso print. Not that I’m bitter or anything.


The rest of the weekend was pretty awesome (except for the heat – we seem to have skipped from winter to summer with a vengeance). After the garage sale, we headed to the Hawthorne District in Portland for a few hours. The highlight? Sitting at a sidewalk table outside the Bagdad Theater sipping cocktails and watching all the strangely funky Portland people walking by. Hipsters and homeless people and every imaginable type of human being in between. Sunday we strolled around the farmer’s market in Vancouver and even though there still isn’t much in the way of fresh produce available, we came away with hummus and pita chips and mango salsa and kettle corn and olives. Then we walked around a couple of our local parks before coming home to veg in front of the TV with season one of Breaking Bad (which Tara has never seen but happily decided to check out after listening to me rave over this incredible show (see?) constantly). We ended the day with margaritas and, now that I have my patio back again and the grill is hooked up, the most delicious dinner consisting of barbecued chicken, grilled corn on the cob, baked beans and french bread. I even let Tara do the cooking, which might not seem like a big deal except for the fact that nothing comes between a man and his grill. The bond between the two is sacred. It was tough relinquishing the reins, believe me, but my girlfriend did me proud and the food turned out fantastic. I was so impressed, I think I’ll let her do it again sometime.

Until then, if anybody’s got a hot lead on a hidden Matisse gathering dust in a thrift store somewhere, hit me up!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

13 thoughts on “Where’s My Thrift Store Picasso?

  1. I may not have a Matisse but I do have some pretty great vinyls and looking at some of the artwork on them…well…Picasso would be proud!!


  2. “I don’t ask for much in life. Just a roof over my head and food on my table and a priceless work of art that I can resell for a huge return on my investment.”


    And OMG….he resold it for $7000???? Lucky him!

    I can’t believe you only made $60.00 in your yard sale because a friend of mine in Florida would have yard sales every couple of months, and made anywhere from $150-200 a pop. And I don’t know HOW he did it because he literally sold JUNK. I think his highest price tag was a $1.00.

    ” we came away with hummus and pita chips and mango salsa and kettle corn and olives. ”

    Yummy, that sounds like something I would LOVE.

    Anyway, it sounds like you and Tara had a nice weekend together!

    Have a great week, buddy!


    1. We just didn’t have that much stuff to sell, Ron. When my ex and I left California 18 years ago we had a moving sale and cleared $1000. Now, that was a tidy little profit!


Add Your Two Cents!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: