Following a few online searches, she realised she had something more valuable in her possession. The plates belonged to Picasso’s “Visage Noir” series of hand-painted ceramics, produced in a pottery studio in the southern French town of Madoura in the 1940s.
The woman then contacted various New York auction houses—Sotheby’s, Christie’, and Bonhams among them—to have the plates authenticated and appraised. They were each valued at $3,000 to $5,000 so she sold three of the plates but decided to keep the fourth and most valuable one. The piece, which bears Picasso’s signature, has been stored in a safety deposit box and will only be sold at a much later date when she wants the proceeds to go to her daughter as a special gift.