Homeless man strikes it big with Bambi art
Edmonton antique dealer wanted to do more to help Adam get back on his feet
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.
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.