One day in 1992, Teri Horton wandered into a thrift shop in San Bernardino, California in search of a birthday present for her friend. A painting caught her eye: "I lifted up the canvas and took it up to the lady in the thrift store, and I asked her what she wanted for it. And she said, `Oh, give me $8.' And I said: `I love my friend, but I don't love her that much.' So she gave it to me for 5," Teri Horton told 60 Minutes in 2007 about a painting she would later believe is an original Jackson Pollock.
The influential abstract expressionist died 60 years ago on August 11, but not before he may have thrown out a painting that found its way into a thrift store in California and into the hands of Teri Horton, a retired truck driver who said she never liked the artwork and only bought it as a joke.
"We were going to get the darts and throw at it, but we never got around to it," Horton told Anderson Cooper, on assignment for 60 Minutes.
Horton would eventually give the painting to a friend, who gave it back to Horton when she couldn't fit it through her door. Horton tried to sell it in a yard sale. That's when an art teacher stopped by.
"He looked at it and he said, `I'm no expert...This could be by Jackson Pollock.' And that's when I said, `Who the **** is Jackson Pollock?' Well...He just started laughing," Horton said. "And he went on to tell me who he was."
Horton told Cooper the painting was worth at least $50 million. The only problem: The art world refused to certify it.
Fed up with the connoisseurs and art historians, Horton turned to science, hiring a forensic specialist, who found fingerprints on the back of the canvas, which he concluded belonged to Pollock.
The science wasn't enough to convince the art establishment, but it was good enough for at least one art collector who offered Horton $2 million for the painting. She refused the offer.
"It was not a fair offer," Horton said. "Be fair with me, and I'll sell it."
To this day, Horton, now in her 80s, still owns the artwork.
"How dare them tell me that it's not authentic?" Horton told Cooper. "They laugh at me and they say, `You don't know what you're talking about.' And I say, `Well, one of these days I'm going to say, `Neener, neener, neener, I told you so.'"