Construction worker and painter Rick Norsigian bartered for photo negatives at a Fresno, California, garage sale 10 years ago, purchasing 65 frames for $45 — not much of a bargain for someone else’s random landscape photos — that is, until they underwent a six-month investigation with an amazing revelation.
The negatives are worth over $200 million dollars and originally belonged to Ansel Adams…you know, the photographer famous for his black-and-white landscapes of the Western U.S.?
Handwriting experts studied the envelope holding the negatives, which include images of Yellowstone National Park, and meteorologists compared the weather in the photos to the weather in other Adams photos discovered to have been taken on the same day.
“When I heard that $200 million [figure], I got a little weak,” Norsigian said at a news conference. What’s next? Naturally, a documentary on the negatives’ sale and authentication is in the works!