Arizona woman finds hidden treasure after purchasing $5 yard sale photo

SUN CITY, Arizona — An Arizona woman found a hidden treasure at a yard sale. Behind an ordinary picture of a horse…was a portrait of former President John F. Kennedy from 1961!

Pam Dwyer and her husband picked up a horse picture at a yard sale in Sun City, but her husband had a hunch that’s not all they were getting. 

“He says ‘I just have this gut feeling that there’s something behind that,'” Dwyer said.

Sure enough, when they removed the picture from the frame, they found a portrait of JFK from 1961.

“I was just in awe of the detail, and the likeness, and that it was an original,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer did some research on the artist — Carmelo Soraci, and found he was an infamous forger who served time. While incarcerated, he unleashed a hidden talent.

“He was best known for the stained glass artwork he created when he was in prison, actually,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer took the painting to art appraiser Lisa Barnes to see what it’s worth. She said it’s tough to give an exact appraisal.

“This particular artist doesn’t have a history of sales. Someone like the Smithsonian would buy this because of the merit of how he captured and he depicted JFK,” Barnes said.

Based on the painting’s quality alone, Barnes estimated the value to be somewhere around $2,500 to $5,000.

Dwyer said even though the painting only cost her $5, she’ll likely part with the portrait worth more than just a thousand words.

“I would probably sell it. We’ve been on hard times,” Dwyer said.

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