Picasso treasure unearthed in regional Queensland

Last updated 17:00 31/10/2012

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When a Queensland couple brought a "cruddy" looking vase to a charity art event, valuer Warren Joel thought it might have been the work of a kid.

When he pulled it out of an old plastic shopping bag, the childlike face on the neck of the vase didn't immediately impress him.

But that changed the moment he turned it over and spotted Pablo Picasso's signature and stamp on the base.

The professional art valuer did a double take. It wasn't exactly what he'd expected to find in the small regional city of Mackay last weekend.

"At first I was thinking this is either really interesting or the kids have done it at school," Mr Joel told AAP.

It was most certainly the former - a work by none other than the famous Spanish artist.

"The Edition Picasso vase was one of 400 sculpted in a 1953 run," Mr Joel said.

Over the years, many had been sold in America, for anything up to $AUS10, 000 ($12, 627), he said.

The find showed what could be lurking in cupboards around Australia, and people should take another look and head along to valuation events, Mr Joel said.

"Some days I just see flotsam and jetsam - the rats and mice of people's collections. But every so often there's something really good," Mr Joel said.

"Was I expecting a Picasso vase to rock up in Mackay? No. You never know what's out there."

It's not known if the anonymous Mackay couple who own the vase intend to sell their masterpiece, which they said they had picked up in Victoria.

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