Melinda Murphy was stunned to find out from appraiser Alasdair Nichol that a chair owned by Norman Rockwell was worth at least $50,000

An unearthed Antiques Roadshow clip has revealed the moment a woman discovered a chair she thought was worth $2,000 was actually valued at $50,000.

Melinda Murphy brought in several items belonging to her father which were created or previously owned by the artist and illustrator Norman Rockwell.

Murphy explained to appraiser Alasdair Nichol that as a child model she worked with Rockwell on several occasions, even featuring as the baby in his famous Babysitter painting. Her late father Gene was also his photographer. 

She was left behind several pieces of work by the artist – who was famed for his captivations of small-town American life – and even a signed letter addressed to Gene.

But Murphy was particularly stunned by the value of Rockwell’s chair which features in some of his most famous work.

Melinda Murphy was stunned to find out from appraiser Alasdair Nichol that a chair owned by Norman Rockwell was worth at least $50,000

Melinda Murphy was stunned to find out from appraiser Alasdair Nichol that a chair owned by Norman Rockwell was worth at least $50,000

The chair belonged to Murphy's father Gene, who was Rockwell's photographer. Gene took the chair after Rockwell had planned to throw it out

The chair belonged to Murphy’s father Gene, who was Rockwell’s photographer. Gene took the chair after Rockwell had planned to throw it out

When asked by Nichol how much she thought the chair was worth she answered: ‘I have no idea’ before adding ‘maybe a couple grand.’ 

To her surprise, Nichol then reveals appraisers had estimated its true value at $50,000.  

‘It’s pretty iconic from this painting and to think of the amazing paintings he did when he was sitting on this chair,’ he said in the clip from 2012 which aired as a special on PBS last week.

However, the chair was not the most expensive item that Murphy brought to the event.

One of the paintings she showed off on the PBS show showed her eating a spoonful of cereal for what could have been a Kellogg’s advert. 

‘I was supposed to be on the cover of the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Box, so Norman did two paintings, my brother and myself,’ she told Nichol in 2012.

But the company did not select Murphy or her brother for the cereal box due to both of them being ‘too pretty.’

‘They wanted more wholesome, American-looking kids. So they sent the paintings back to Norman, and he gave them to my dad,’ she said.

The artist wrote a personal note on the painting, which said, ‘my best wishes to Chickie Pelham from Norman Rockwell.’  

Nichol told Murphy that the turned-down Kellogg painting was worth $80,000 to $90,000.

The least expensive item Murphy brought to the show was a reproductive image of her and her brother in a DuMont television ad with a letter signed by Rockwell.

Murphy regularly went to Rockwell's studio and was featured in more than one of the late artist's works, including a painting that was worth between $80,000 to $90,000

Murphy regularly went to Rockwell’s studio and was featured in more than one of the late artist’s works, including a painting that was worth between $80,000 to $90,000

Murphy and her brother were featured in a DuMont television ad. The former Rockwell model brought in a reproduction of the artwork, which was not worth any money

Murphy and her brother were featured in a DuMont television ad. The former Rockwell model brought in a reproduction of the artwork, which was not worth any money

The picture itself did not have any value, but Nichol told Murphy that the letter signed by Rockwell was worth a few hundred dollars. 

Murphy had a variety of facts for the appraiser while she spoke with him about the items she brought to the show in 2012.

The former Rockwell model was first featured in his 1947 painting, The Babysitter, in which she was the crying baby.

‘I was the baby in the babysitter painting. My mom told me many years later how bad she felt because they had to stick my feet with pins to make me cry,’ said Murphy.

Murphy was first featured in Rockwell's 1947 painting called The Babysitter, where she portrayed the crying baby

Murphy was first featured in Rockwell’s 1947 painting called The Babysitter, where she portrayed the crying baby

‘She thought that was wrong, but they couldn’t find any other way to make me cry I guess.’

Rockwell later created Christmas cards with Murphy in them before she and her brother participated in the DuMont television ad.

Murphy and her brother sat over 15 hours in the television ad pose with breaks in between, but she still loved the environment. 

‘It was wonderful. I went there so often that I just became very familiar with his studio and he had a coke machine in his backroom,’ she said.

‘He was very kind and he was soft spoken, but he was very detailed in the way he wanted you to sit.’     

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