Long story short: Original Bob Ross paintings are so expensive, you could use the money and buy yourself something like this instead..
If you have seen more than five episodes of 'The Joy of Painting' you probably thought about buying an original Bob Ross painting. How hard can it be to get one? There are over 400 episodes of 'The Joy of Painting' and Bob did three copies of every painting on the show. So there should be over 1200 paintings from the TV show alone out there, and some of them just have to be on eBay or some other website.
So you open up your favorite search engine, try your luck with something like "Buy Bob Ross Painting" and are greeted with pages upon pages of Bob Ross replica paintings:
eBay doesn't look much better either:
Beautiful paintings, but they all are just done in "Bob Ross Style", none of them are done by Bob himself. So for the average person the question "Can I buy a Bob Ross painting?" has a definite answer: No.
It is rumored that in his lifetime Bob made over 30.000 paintings, so what happened to them all? Why is it so hard to find an original Bob Ross painting on sale? Here is what Bob said about some of them:
“One of the questions that I hear over and over and over is, ‘What do we do with all these paintings we do on television?’ Most of these paintings are donated to PBS stations across the country. They auction them off, and they make a happy buck with ‘em. So if you’d like to have one, get in touch with your PBS station, cause…we give them to stations all over the country to help them out with their fundraisers.”
What happened to the other thousands of paintings Bob did outside of the TV show isn't known, but if you're lucky and look hard enough you might come across an eBay listing like this:
So, an original Bob Ross for sale might cost you a few thousand dollars, but at least there is free shipping! This particular painting also includes a letter from the original owner who used to be stationed with Bob in the US Air Force Base in Alaska.
If you want to have a Bob Ross-esque painting on your wall you can always grab your brushes and paint it yourself. Not only will your paintings look as good as Bob's with some practice but you'll get to experience the joy of painting first hand.
If you think you have an original Bob Ross painting or are about to buy one, you can send a mail to email@example.com and ask them to verifiy that it was really done by Bob Ross himself.