KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WAVY) – A valuable piece of art was almost lost, until someone with a sharp eye found it at a thrift store on the Outer Banks late last year.

Art lover Wendy Hawkins’ keen eye discovered the Salvador Dali original.

“Sometimes when the paintings or pictures are in frames that are broken, and it was kind of dirty, they get passed by,” said Wendy.

Wendy volunteers twice a week at the Hotline Pink Thrift Shop in Kitty Hawk, which is where she first saw the piece of art.

“One day I saw this, with a bunch of other paintings lined up on the floor, and I said ‘this is old, this is something special.'”

She wanted an expert opinion, and with the permission of the thrift shop, she took it down the road to the Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head for a second look.

Melanie Smith checked it out and did some research. “This matches all the information, all the reference and so it checked off all the things in order to confirm it was an original,” discovered Smith.

The piece of art is a wood engraving by Salvador Dali and comes from a series called The Divine Comedy. It still has his signature.

While the Spanish surrealist is most recognized for his painting “The Persistence of Memory,” this piece was part of a series commissioned by the Italian government to celebrate poet Dante Aligheri.

“This series has 100 different images for the series, because Dante wrote 100 different verses or cantos,” explained Smith.

You may be wondering how much something like this is worth.

The artwork sold for $1,200. The couple from Portsmouth who bought it plans to take it home later this week.

“It’s rare to find anything like this. It’s like a treasure hunt, and thanks to Wendy, it’s been rescued, and brought to light so people in the art world can really enjoy it”.

As for Wendy, she may never hear the end of it at the thrift shop.

“We’ve just had people coming in saying, what painting do we have today on special?”

More From Living Local