mechanic finds canvases in dumpster worth millions

When dumpsters become gold mines.

An odd trinket bought at a thrift shop turns out to be a bona fide antique. A small fortune is found stashed inside a piece of furniture on the side of the road. These are the magical jackpot moments that seem almost too good to be true. And yet, real stories like these keep the hope alive in our hearts.

In September 2017, auto mechanic Jared Whipple received a call from a friend about an abandoned barn house in Watertown, Connecticut, filled with several large canvases, each with bold colorful displays of car parts. Considering Whipple’s line of work, along with his general love for vintage items, the friend thought the artwork would be of interest to him.

By the time Whipple arrived on the site, all the pieces had been disposed of into a dumpster (next stop: landfill) and were covered in debris and mold. Luckily, each was individually wrapped in plastic.

Curious, Whipple began to unwrap a few of the canvases to get a better look.


Not only were they in good condition, but the quality of art was impeccable. Whipple immediately wanted to know more about the creator of these lovely works.

The answers didn’t come easy. In fact, the research ended up taking Whipple four years, but here’s what he found:

The works were created by Francis Mattson Hines. And he wasn’t exactly a no name. According to the Mattatuck Museum, Hines’ big claim to fame was weaving giant pieces of diaphanous fabrics around the Washington Square Arch in geometric patterns back in 1980. And though his story was publicly recognized in books and documentaries, much of Hines’ fame had diminished by the time of his death in 2016. Hence the less-than-fruitful Google search.

“Not only was this artist a ‘someone,’ but he was even more well known in the New York art world than we could ever have imagined,” said Whipple.

CT Insider reported that Whipple has collaborated with art gallery Hollis Taggart to give Hines’ work the proper respect and celebration it deserves, setting up a large exhibit in both Southport, Connecticut, and New York City. Each one will showcase 35 to 40 pieces, all available for sale.

And just how much will a Francis Hines piece go for? CT Insider also spoke with art curator and historian Peter Hastings Falk, who estimated that his drawings could go for $4,500, and wrapped paintings around $22,000. This makes the entire collection, full of hundreds of pieces, worth millions of dollars.

That’s right. What nearly went into a trash heap is now valued at a mega fortune level.

Go ahead. Pick up your jaw from the floor and read that again.

Of course, selling the art isn’t Whipple’s main focus. In addition to keeping some pieces for himself that he fell in love with, Whipple aims to work with major galleries in New York to establish Francis Hines as “a significant artist of the 20th and 21st century.”

The mechanic-turned-art-dealer told CT Insider his new purpose "is to get Hines into the history books.”

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less

Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less