Browsing in a consignment store, a picture on the wall caught my attention. As I walked closer, the scene looked familiar. I took a few more steps. William Mangum had signed the print. I realized it was a limited edition print. How could it be? A limited edition print by artist William Mangum was for sale in a consignment store? I could hardly believe my eyes or my thoughts.
Standing in the country store, I remember asking myself, “How did this print travel here? And, why would someone want to sell it?” My thoughts paused momentarily. I asked, “Is that really a Mangum print?” The sales associate responded, “Yes. You can buy it for $300.” Although still in shock, the cost was more than I had with me.
I went back to the store two weeks later. The print was still there. I spoke with the store owner once again about the limited edition print. She said, “If you’re still interested in the print, I can give you a better price.” I asked, “How much better?” Her response was, “$225, plus tax.”
I began asking more questions about “The Spirit of Greensboro” print. I was curious. It had left an unforgettable picture in my mind. I finally went to the Mangum Fine Art Gallery. That’s where I asked the question.
“Do you carry The Spirit of Greensboro print?” The sales associate referred to a catalog and said, “Today, the print alone sells for $500.” Originally released in 1989, the print sold for $85.
I spilled the beans, “I found the print in a consignment store.” The associate’s response was, “Where? We’ll buy it from the store or we’ll buy it from you.” My thoughts returned to the print in the consignment store. The sales associate asked, “What’s the name of the store with the print?” I paused and said, “That won’t be necessary. I’ll take care of it myself.”
I contacted the owner of the store and asked if the Mangum print was still available? “Yes, are you still interested?” Faced with a challenging decision, I said yes.
My mom and I went to the consignment store and purchased the print. You could see the color draining from the man’s face as my mom told him the entire story. He asked, “The print is worth five hundred dollars?” They chatted while I secured the print in the trunk of my car. He said, “Your daughter was wise to ask questions.”
He was right. It pays to ask questions. I’m the happy owner of a William Mangum limited edition, “Spirit of Greensboro” print. Who would think you could find fine art in a consignment store?
By A. H. Scott