A Thrift-Shop Jackson Pollock Masterpiece?

Ex-Trucker Claims She Scored A Multimillion-Dollar Painting For $5

"There is no way anybody can get up and look at that painting, or any Pollock for that matter, and be able, by visual examination and wait for this mystical feeling that they get that comes over them, to decide whether it is, or whether it is not authentic," Teri says. "They call it 'connoisseurship.'"

Asked what she calls it, Teri says, laughing, "B---s---."

"When you look at your painting, do you get a feeling?" Cooper asks.

"Yeah, I, you're damn right I do. You, when I look at the Pollock, I see dollar signs. That's all I see. I mean, you know, come on!" she replies.

Shut out by the connoisseurs, Teri turned to science. She found Paul Biro, a forensic art expert based in Montreal. Biro made his name as an art restorer. He now specializes in using scientific techniques to assess paintings.

Asked what he thought of Teri when he first met her, Biro says, "quite a character."

"The typical Jackson Pollock owner?" Cooper asks.

"Not quite," Biro says, laughing. "Not quite."

Biro studied Teri's canvas for several hours searching for clues. "The very first step for me was to analyze the painting. Take pigment samples. Look for forensic evidence," Biro explains.

"It sounds almost like you're describing a crime scene," Cooper remarks.

"Well, it's actually quite similar. I'm not look for the criminal; I'm looking for the artist who committed the painting, actually," Biro explains.

On the back of the canvas Biro discovered a fingerprint left in paint. "Once I turned the canvas around and I saw the fingerprint, I said 'Aha.' 'Cause suddenly I felt I have something to go on here," he recalls.

His next step was to find a Jackson Pollack fingerprint to compare it to. Pollock never served in the Army, however, and was never fingerprinted by police.

So, as the documentary shows, Biro, like any detective, went to the scene of the crime—in this case, the studio in East Hampton, Long Island, where Pollock made all those drip paintings.

The studio is now a museum, preserved as it was, right down to the open paint cans and brushes. On a can a blue paint, Biro found a fingerprint that matched the one on Teri's painting.

60 Minutes asked him to show the prints on his computer in his lab. "We're looking at six ridges in all. And we are looking at six characteristics that I have marked here, which are clear enough to be usable. You can see the lines intersecting, and forming bifurcations," Biro explains.

Superimposing one print on the other, Biro says that the prints correspond and are fully congruent.

Biro says that match proves Teri's painting came from Pollock's studio. Then, in the Tate Modern Museum in London, he found another print, on a known Pollock, that he says matched the other two.

Asked if in a court of law this would hold up, Biro says, "Yes, it would. I believe it would."

Biro checked his work with Andre Turcotte, a retired Canadian police sergeant who ran the Quebec Police fingerprint lab for more than a decade. Turcotte agreed the prints matched.

That's as far as comparisons have gone. Unless there's a potential buyer, Teri is unwilling to let other fingerprint experts examine Biro's findings. And she declined 60 Minutes' request to send the prints to an independent expert.

Biro's fingerprint match didn't change many minds in the art world, but it was good enough for at least one art collector, who offered Teri $2 million for the painting. She said no.

Why didn't she take it?

"I know what it's worth," she argues.

"There would have been some people say, 'Look, $2 million. You spend $5 on this painting. You're offered two million. Take the money and run,' some people would say," Cooper remarls.

"True," Teri says. "But it was not a fair offer. Be fair with me and I'll sell it."

"So you're not really sure, at this point, what you would take for this painting?" Cooper asks.

"No. I'm not gonna let 'em steal it from me," she says.