Rick Norsigian found a couple of boxes full of glass negatives at a yard sale and bought them for $45, negotiated down from $70, 10 years ago. Now, he's discovered that they're early photographs of Ansel Adams worth $200 million.
The 65 glass negatives are early photos by the famed photographer that were thought to have been destroyed in a 1937 darkroom fire that destroyed 5,000 plates. And they were confirmed to be his by comparing the handwriting on their packages to some samples provided by Ansel's grandson of Virgina Adams (Adam's Wife). They matched. It's thought that Adams brought these negatives to a photography class he was teaching in Pasadena in the 1940's to show students how important it was to not let your negatives get burned up.
Because of the historical significance of the prints and the fact that they represent a lost period in Adams' career, they're valued at at least $200 million. Not a bad return on investment, eh? Norsigian is planning to sell prints to museums and collectors before buying himself a private plane and solid-gold pants. [CNN]