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Some years later he was playing a board game called Masterpiece in which players attempt to outbid one another for artwork at an auction.
Much to his surprise, one of the cards in the game featured a painting of flowers that looked a lot like the one he had on his wall.
After looking over the document for a few days, he wondered if it might be older than he initially thought.
So he hopped on the Internet to do some research and soon realized he had purchased one of only 200 official copies of the Declaration of Independence commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820.
So he went online and found that his painting was similar in style to the work of Martin Johnson Heade, an American still-life artist best known for landscapes and flower arrangements.
Through his research he found the Kennedy Galleries in Manhattan, which handles many of Heade's works, and asked them to take a look at his painting.
It took a year for Sparks to have the print authenticated and preserved, and then he put it up for auction, netting a final sale price of 7,650.
The salt and pepper shakers, on the other hand, were still worthless. A good Heade for bargains One day, an employee at a tool-and-die company in Indiana spent for a few pieces of used furniture and an old painting of some flowers.
When he got his new stuff home, he decided to strategically hang the picture to cover up a hole in the wall that had been bugging him.
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