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Ancient Greek Bust Found in San Antonio Goodwill

Buried Treasure: Ancient Greek Bust Found in San Antonio Goodwill

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May 13 2022, Published 1:47 p.m. ET

While opting for shopping in thrift stores over buying clothes firsthand has blown up in recent years, the pastime has been around for longer than most of us would think. And with it, comes a plethora of exciting finds worth a lot more than they are sold for at the various Goodwill and salvation armies. One of the most recent ones is an ancient roman bust that had been missing for decades. It is a priceless piece that just happened to be resting on the floor of goodwill in San Antonio, Texas.

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It's suspected that thrift shopping has blown up in popularity due to it now being seen as ‘trendy’ thanks to the increase in coverage across social media. According to the 2021 resale report, 80 percent of consumers said they would be open to purchasing second hand products in 2020. That is about a 16 percent increase from the previous year. Another factor that could come into play is the increase in popularity with vintage style clothing. Being able to find items that seem like time capsules paired with the affordable prices all come into play when looking at the new age thrifting craze.

Roman Bust Found in San Antonio Goodwill

ancient greek bust found in san antonio goodwill
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Even though it may be streamlining in prevalence right now, people have been thrifting for years. And with the years of buying secondhand comes the rare but exciting finds that some people score on. Purchased in 2018, an art collector named Laura Young stumbled upon one of her greatest finds yet.

An ancient roman bust that used to be installed in a courtyard of the Pompejanum, which was a full-scale replica of a villa from Pompeii. The imitation was built by the King in Aschaffenburg and the bust was dated back to the late 1st century BC.

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How the relic made its way all the way to Texas is not known for certain. It is suspected that at some point during World War II, a soldier returning home might have snagged it as a keepsake when it was spotted amongst the rubble of the bombing of ​​Aschaffenburg.

Young, experienced in the field of older art pieces, recognized that the piece looked especially old and worn. She suspected that the bust most likely had a great history that she and the professionals she brought it to were not able to identify. Many experts were consulted in her long journey to discover the bust's past.

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It wasn't until Sotheby’s consultant Jörg Deterling and later the Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens, and Lakes got wind of the suspected artifact and were able to further authenticate it. The artifact is now on display in the San Antonio Museum of Art until May of 2023, and as per the agreement, it will then be returned to its rightful home in Germany.

It's safe to say the artifact had been through a lot in its long history of existence, and Young says she is honored to be a part of its crazy journey. She is quoted as saying “I’m glad I got to be a small part of [its] long and complicated history, and he looked great in the house while I had him.”

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Other Rare Items Found in Thrift Stores

ancient greek bust found in san antonio goodwill

While finding an ancient grecian vase is a keen find, it’s not the only triumph people have had while shopping at thrift stores. Finding valuable treasures is a somewhat common theme amongst thrifting, and a lot of the time the items are turned around and sold for a pretty penny compared to what they are bought for.

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One of the most famous consignment store scores was an original Picasso printed poster that had the artist's signature on the back to prove it was the real deal. Lucky Zach Bodish was the one to make the purchase in early 2012 in Clintonville, Ohio. he came across the poster while looking for other old pieces he could potentially refurbish and resell, and instead noticed the poster hanging with Picasso's red scribble of a signature in the bottom corner. On the back was something written in french that would later be translated to “original print, signed proof”, and per the writing on the back the copy was six out of one hundred.

Another ideal purchase was also made in 2012, but this time in North Carolina by Beth Feeback. She was shopping at a local goodwill when she bought 2 paintings for just $9.99. Upon later investigation of the paintings, Feedback realized that one of the paintings she had purchased was an original by Ilya Bolotowsky titled Vertical Diamond. The painting then later sold for a whopping $34,500. Feeback told ABC that she and her husband planned to renovate their home and pay down some debts with the sale’s proceeds.

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