The value of this painting was difficult to estimate, because Cimabue’s earlier works had never been auctioned off before. Nevertheless, the appraiser knew that this work would be worth a great deal. He took a good look at the work and came to the conclusion that it was real. He estimated the value of the painter at 6.5 million dollars, or just under 6 million euros. But the value of the painting was very different from what the appraiser had expected!
The woman was quite shocked when she heard the value of the painting: 6.5 million dollars, that is a lot of money. But the woman kept her expectations in check: the painting would be auctioned off and maybe the price would turn out much lower than the appraiser had predicted. But the opposite happened. In the auction house in Senlis about 800 people gathered at the auction of this unique work of art. The auctioneer also knew that this work would be worth a lot. Just before the auction was over, he predicted: “No other work by this painter will ever be auctioned”. The price shot up, everyone tried to beat each other with a bid in the last second. There were even bids coming in by phone!
Eventually the painting would be sold to an anonymous buyer for no less than 19.5 million euros, over three times more than what the appraiser had predicted. The painting now ranks alongside works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Rembrandt and Raphael, among others, in the top 10 of most expensive old painting sales. And to think that this enormously valuable painting would almost have ended up in the garbage!