Home­less man strikes it big with Bambi art

Ed­mon­ton an­tique dealer wanted to do more to help Adam get back on his feet

Waterloo Region Record - - Canada & World - CHRIS PURDY

ED­MON­TON — Alexan­der Arch­bold knew the home­less man as a friendly, kind guy who some­times came into his an­tique shop to sell var­i­ous trin­kets and trea­sures dug out of dump­sters.

Whether Arch­bold wanted the items or not, he bought them so the man would have enough money to buy lunch.

It was in Septem­ber when the man he knew only as Adam walked into Cu­rios­ity Inc. in Ed­mon­ton with an old bag con­tain­ing a draw­ing of Bambi in a tat­tered, dirty frame. Adam asked for $20. Arch­bold agreed.

“I thought, well, it’s Bambi. I can prob­a­bly clean it up,” Arch­bold re­called Fri­day.

It was later, he said, when he took the pic­ture out of the frame, that he re­al­ized it was valu­able. A cer­tifi­cate on the back said it was an au­then­tic 1937 an­i­ma­tion cel from the clas­sic Dis­ney movie.

“I just thought oh my good­ness. It’s the real thing and it’s worth a lot more than I thought it was. And I have to do some­thing to help this guy out.”

Arch­bold de­tailed the dis­cov­ery on YouTube where a man from New York, who had once been home­less him­self, took an in­ter­est. That man ended up buy­ing the cel af­ter Arch­bold posted it on eBay for $3,700.

Arch­bold said he then tracked down Adam and give him his share of the prof­its.

He also wanted to do more to get the man back on his feet.

“I drove up and down ev­ery sin­gle al­ley. I went by shel­ters. I went ev­ery­where I could go to try and find him.” Arch­bold fi­nally spoke to a few other home­less peo­ple who knew of Adam and they passed on the mes­sage that Arch­bold wanted to see him.

Adam walked into the shop ear­lier this week. Arch­bold handed him $1,600, drove him to a bank to help him re­ac­ti­vate an ac­count, then took him to lunch.

He said Adam told him that his life fell apart af­ter he fell into a de­pres­sion. He had been work­ing as a dry­waller but lost his job, his wife and his home. At 38, he had been liv­ing on Ed­mon­ton streets for three years.

His chil­dren are liv­ing in On­tario, and he wants to move there.

ALEXAN­DER ARCH­BOLD THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

An an­i­ma­tion cel from “Bambi” sold for thou­sands of dol­lars af­ter a home­less man sold it for $20. Adam orig­i­nally found it in a dump­ster.

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