The Spanish artist is best known for "The Persistence of Memory," which depicts several melting clocks.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 05, 2020
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Salvador Dali In Figueres, Spain -
Credit: KAMMERMAN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

It was just another day volunteering at the Outer Banks' Hotline Pink Thrift Shop in Kitty Hawk for Wendy Hawkins late last year when she stumbled upon something she suspected was truly remarkable. Her hunch was correct: Hawkins had discovered an original Salvador Dali painting on the floor of the thrift shop as she was sorting  through paintings.

“One day I saw this, with a bunch of other paintings lined up on the floor, and I said ‘this is old, this is something special,'" Hawkins told WAVY-TV 10 out of Portsmouth, Virginia, in a recent profile of her impressive find. Curious to learn more abut this piece, Hawkins asked the thrift store for permission to get a professional opinion regarding the artwork. Once they gave her the green light, Hawkins headed over to the Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head. At the gallery, Melanie Smith was able to determine the piece in question was an original Dali wood engraving—that even has the famed 20th century surrealist's signature—from a series called "The Divine Comedy" commissioned by the Italian government in honor of vaunted poet Dante Alighieri.

“This series has 100 different images for the series, because Dante wrote 100 different verses or cantos,” Smith explained to WAVY-TV 10. Smith was able to sell the piece at the gallery for $1,200, not too bad considering this was once sitting casually on the floor of a thrift shop. Watch WAVY-TV 10's full video here.

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What an amazing story out of the Outer Banks. Have you ever found something valuable at a thrift shop, antique store, or yard sale? We wish we could channel a bit of Hawkins' luck and stumble upon a Dali original. What an incredible story that would be to share with our loved ones—and what a cool piece of history that would be to hang on our walls, melting clocks or not.