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A mechanic found hundreds of canvases thrown into a dumpster and now they're worth millions

One man's trash is another man's treasure. Literally.

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.”

When people move in and refuse to move out, what do you do?

Squatters' rights laws are some of the most bizarrely misused legal realities we have, and something no one seems to have a good answer for. Most of us have heard stories of someone moving into a vacant home and just living there, without anyone's permission and without paying rent, and somehow this is a legal question mark until the courts sort it out.

According to The National Desk, squatters' rights are a carryover from British property law and were created to ensure that abandoned property could be used and to protect occupants from being kicked out without proper notice. It should go without saying that squatter law isn't meant to allow someone to just take over someone else's property, but sometimes that's exactly what happens.

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The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.

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How many of us really want to take over our grandma's collection of dolls or plates when we have no interest in collecting ourselves? How many people have homes filled with furniture we actually like, only to be offered antiques and heirlooms that we have neither the desire nor room for? What about china sets, artwork and other things our elders have loved that they want to see passed down in the family that no one in the family really wants?

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Parker’s fear of becoming a billionaire began after he left Canada for Los Angeles. “I think the biggest difference between Canada and L.A. is the extent to which people in L.A. fetishize wealth,” Parker said.

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