The mysteriously expensive thrift store painting

When I was recently in Red Bank, NJ, I had fun looking around The Antique Center of Red Bank, Building III. Lots of interesting old knick knacks, sculptures, and “Nutty Mads,” among other things.

I noticed this painting, below, and there wasn’t anything about the subject matter that grabbed my attention, but the price did: $6,500. I guess The Antiques Center in Red Bank isn’t exactly a “thrift store,” but there weren’t many other things around there that were several thousand dollars, so it made me wonder, what makes this painting so valuable? It has a signature on the front, but it’s not 100% clear to me what the name is … it looks like “Gino Santanastaso, 1966,” but I’m not finding any artist online by that name.

Does anyone recognize this painting? Or know who exactly this artist is, or why this painting would be worth $6,500? Usually paintings in antique stores are a few hundred dollars, so that’s why I’m curious. If you know anything about this, please share in the comments section below.

expensive thrift store painting
A painting at the Antiques Center in Red Bank, NJ – does anyone recognize that signature?
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