David Bowie Original Sold at Thrift Store for $4 Now Selling for More Than $22K

An Ontario, Canada, resident learned for herself that one person's trash is another person's treasure.

The resident unknowingly purchased a David Bowie painting that is reportedly worth between $9,000 to $12,000 for just $4 at a thrift store that doubles an entrance to landfill, says CBC. The painting is set to sell for an even larger sum.

According to the outlet, Rob Cowley, President of Cowley Abbott Fine Art in Toronto, was contacted by the painting's owner a few months after the fateful purchase. When the owner discovered the artist's signature on the back, along with a date and title, she decided to do some research. Her findings led her to believe that the painting could be an original, so she contacted Cowley.

"There's a label on the back and it quite clearly identifies the work, so she of course wondered if it could be authentic," he told those at CBC.

Cowley also told the outlet that he and his team contacted a man named Andy Peters, who is "recognized as an expert in David Bowie's signature and also has a great familiarity with his artwork as well." Peters confirmed for the team, to everyone's shock and delight, that the painting is, in fact, authentic.

The piece of art is titled D HEAD XLVI, a computer and acrylic collage on canvas that is a part of Bowie's larger Dead Heads (D Head) series. His series contains 47 works, all of which were created between 1995 and 1997, says the work's description on the official auction page of the Cowley Abbott website. According to its label, D HEAD XLVI was painted in 1997.

Bowie's painting captures the side profile of an unknown subject. As reported by Indy100, each painting in the series captures a different "muse."

According to those at Cowley Abbott: "The sitters ranged from band members, friends, and acquaintances and there were also some self-portraits. It has been suggested that, for some of these important paintings, Bowie drew inspiration from the Ziggy Stardust era.

"With long hair and a pronounced profile, this energetic and enigmatic portrait is truly a rare representation from a celebrated artist," the auctioneers say of the painting on their website.

As of this publication, the current bid on the painting is $22,100, almost double the top-end price of the painting's estimated value. But this price isn't shocking. CBC reports that other Bowie paintings have sold for more than $30,000. The auction will end on June 24th at 2:15 pm EST.

David Bowie painting up for auction
A person in Ontario, Canada unknowingly bought a David Bowie painting for $4 at a local thrift store. Experts valued the piece between $9,000 and $12,000. The piece is now up for auction and the current bid is $22,100. Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer/Getty