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Pennsylvania man wins a Picasso in international raffle

WEXFORD, Pa., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania man became the proud owner of a Picasso for only $140 when he entered an international raffle.

Jeffrey Gonano, 25, of Wexford bought one of 50,000 tickets offered by the International Association to Save Tyre, which aims to preserve the biblical city of Tyre, about 100 miles south of Beirut, and won Picasso's "L'Homme au Gibus," or "Man with Opera Hat," worth an estimated $1 million, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday.

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Gonano will receive the painting for no more than the price of his raffle ticket, but he will still be responsible for the taxes on the painting, which could amount to $365,000.

Gonano said he is looking into his options to pay the taxes and he is considering a plan involving loaning the painting to a museum.

"It would be nice to keep it in Pittsburgh," he said.

The winner said he asked the association not to ship the painting until he has insurance and has found a proper place for it to be displayed.

The 1914 painting measures about 12 inches-by-9 inches and is painted with gouache on paper.

"I'm pretty eager to see it," Gonano said. "This is crazy. I'm still in shock."

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Ken McCrory, an accountant and principal with ParenteBeard, Downtown, said Gonano would not have to pay the tax bill if he donates the painting to a museum.

"He would have the value of the painting as income and an equivalent amount as a charitable deduction. Zero tax effect," he said.

However, McCrory said he would advise Gonano to sell, instead.

"If he sold it for $1 million and paid $365,000 in taxes, he would still have $635,000 left over," he said. "That's a lot of money last time I checked."

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