A pair of Cincinnati boys playing in a homemade fort stumbled across a valuable Henry Farny painting. The Boller brothers, Will and Danny, decided to go outside and look for treasure while playing in the woods by their Price Hill home.
The Henry Farny portrait found by the Ohio children is valued between $5,000 and $15,000, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The little treasure hunters tried to open the combination lock on the old suitcase but could not figure out the right series of numbers. After giving up on the lock, the Boller boys used their growing muscles to whack a stick against the luggage and force it open.
Danny, 9, had this to say about their miraculous find and trying to get inside the suitcase:
“Somebody threw the suitcase in the woods by our fort. We tried 999 and 888 and all the way down to 000.”
The excited children pulled back the felt concealing their treasure and came face-to-face with the painting of a woman the boys found so scary, they ran away. Once the young men regained their bravery, they collected their treasure and proudly delivered it to the mother.
Farny signed and dated the painting. He is believed to have painted the woman when he lived in the Covington area in 1904. The painter became famous for his paintings of Native Americans and the Wild West era. One of his most famous paintings, “The Song of the Talking Wire” was the “star” of the Taft Museum of Art in 1904.
Dan Boller, the father of the treasure hunters who found the fine art painting, had this to say about the discovery:
“I first saw the suitcase when our next door neighbor’s sister cleaned out his house and put it on the curb a couple of days before garbage day. It looked like a good painting. And I knew it was old. But what do I know about art? So it sat in the suitcase in our garage for a while until I got sick and tired of looking at it. I hated to throw the doggone thing out. There was no way I was ever going to be able to do any historical research on it. So, we gave it to the historical society. I figured these guys could find out who she was.”
Before the painting was donated to the historical society, Boller listed both it on Craigslist. Even though the painting was offered, “free to a good home,” there weren’t any takers. The painting remained unidentified at the historical society until a member thought the artist’s initials looked familiar and took it to the Cincinnati Art Museum.