LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Rick Norsigian’s hobby of picking through piles of unwanted items at garage sales in search of antiques has paid off for the Fresno, Calif., painter.
Two small boxes he bought 10 years ago for $45 — negotiated down from $70 — are now estimated to be worth at least $200 million, according to a Beverly Hills art appraiser.
Those boxes contained 65 glass negatives created by famed nature photographer Ansel Adams in the early period of his career. Experts believed the negatives were destroyed in a 1937 darkroom fire that destroyed 5,000 plates.
“It truly is a missing link of Ansel Adams and history and his career,” said David W. Streets, the appraiser and art dealer who is hosting an unveiling of the photographs at his Beverly Hills, Calif., gallery Tuesday.
The photographs apparently were taken between 1919 and the early 1930s, well before
Adams — who is known as the father of American photography — became nationally recognized in the 1940s, Streets said.