When somebody we love passes away, we’re grateful to be left with priceless memories. When they leave us with mementos, then we feel like we have something more to hold on to, something we can carry with us forever. For most of us though, such mementos are not worth much financially and they are more of sentimental value.
For one man, Carl Sabatino, things turned out different than most. Sabatino was with his aunt when the woman was in her last few days of life. What Sabatino wasn’t planning on was being left something that would be worth millions.
Three days before his aunt, Jenny Verastro, passed away, she reminded Sabatino of the painting hidden away under her sewing machine. As a child, this man had noticed the painting in his aunt’s home. He would refer to it as the drawing with “the woman in the fuzzy hat.”
What young Sabatino never knew was that the painting could be worth $30 million. The man talked about the painting and his aunt’s last few days. He said, “Three days before she passed on, she told me, ‘Don’t forget, Carl, to look under the sewing machine.’”
When his aunt did pass away, Sabatino went looking for the painting under the sewing machine. It slipped right through it and fell on the floor. The painting was wrapped in newspaper dating back to the 1950s. When he saw the painting, he didn’t think it so special, the man had seen it often as a child.
Picasso is not Smith — the surname stands out especially in the art world. Sabatino explained how the painting was bought in London during World War II. His aunt’s husband had bought it from a street vendor for $10.
Sabatino believes that Picasso duplicated the painting for an important reason. He believes that the master himself duplicated his artwork to “test out a new painting process.” This could be a valid reason to not dismiss the painting as merely a replica.
Sabatino recalls his talk with the expert and the questions he posed. “I said, ‘Okay, but where did it come from, in your opinion? It’s in color,’ which was very rare at the time,” he said, but she ‘didn’t have an answer.’” Through research, Sabatino had learned that Picasso was experimenting with a printing technique in 1936 and he believes the painting came from that period of work.
When a second expert saw the painting, Sabatino got the answer he wanted to hear. The expert removed some pigment from the piece and confirmed that the materials matched the ones used in 1930s Europe. There was even a thumbprint on the painting which could only be left by the one who had drawn the painting.
The fingerprint is what will make or break this painting. If the results confirm that it is, indeed, a Picasso, Sabatino will become a very rich man. The painting could be worth up to $30 million.
15. What’s Even More Surprising...
This has been a surprise for Sabatino. But what makes this story even more surprising is why his aunt and her husband never sought to evaluate the painting in the hopes of becoming richer. Who knows, maybe they were already leading a rich life and didn’t need money to ruin it all.