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2 paintings found in Toronto Goodwill bin sell for $134,000

Two paintings discovered in a Toronto Goodwill donation bin last fall sold Tuesday for $134,000.

Two paintings discovered in a Toronto Goodwill donation bin last fall sold Tuesday for $134,000.

The works by Federico Del Campo, a renowned 19th-century painter of European scenes, are of a sunny Venetian backwater and of a Venetian canal with two ships, both dated 1895.

They sold for $66,000 and $68,000, respectively, at Waddington's auction house in Toronto after brisk bidding by international buyers.

The same overseas bidder bought both works, Waddington's said, paying $80,700 with a buyer's premium for one painting, and $78,400 for the other.

A sharp-eyed clerk spotted the pair of paintings during a routine review of the daily discards at a Toronto store.

"I look — if I see something special, I put [it] aside," said Goodwill employee Helen Zhuang. "I said, 'Wow, this is not a regular one.'"

Zhuang said she knows very little about art but recognized the paintings were special.

Goodwill consulted with Waddington's art expert Susan Robertson, who said both were the work of Del Campo, renowned for his paintings of Venice.

"What is really special about this painting and the other one, it's a very lovely view of Venice. You can feel the warmth of the sun. He's depicted it very well — the architecture, perspective," Robertson told CBC News.

The Peruvian-born artist, who lived from 1837 to 1927, studied in Madrid and travelled widely.

"His works are collected by very astute collectors worldwide," Robertson said.

No one knows where the paintings came from or who donated them to Goodwill.

District manager Vikram Teri said Goodwill gets 2,500 drop-offs every day, and there's no way to find out who discarded these paintings.

Goodwill said the money raised at the auction will go toward creating jobs in the community.

With files from CBC's Ioanna Roumeliotis