For years, a Roman statue stood on the floor of a second-hand item store in Texas.
Nobody thought much of it, figuring it was just a piece of junk or some kind of imitation garden ornament.
That was until Texas antiques dealer Laura Young stopped by the Austin thrift store and decided to buy it in 2018.
Laura found the Roman bust while scouring the store for something unique and interesting. The sculpture was on the floor, under a table, when it caught her eye.
She had no idea it was actually a real historical item but decided to buy it on impulse.
Hitting the Jackpot
Young didn’t think twice and bought the piece for $34.99, the price listed on a sticker on the cheek of the small statue.
She later learned that this status was actually a real Roman statue from the Julio-Claudiana era. The bust depicts the famous Roman commander Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus over 2,000 years ago in the 1st century AD.
It’s also an item of incalculable value. The question is: how did it end up in a thrift shop in Austin, Texas?
Well, it’s believed the bust came to be part of the art collection of a 19th-century Bavarian king until it was stolen during World War II.
It then eventually found its way to the United States where it ended up being lost and people forgot its value. Then, it somehow ended up for sale for $34.99 at a thrift shop.
An ancient Roman bust that went on display at a museum in San Antonio, Texas this week has a peculiar backstory: In 2018, the bust was bought at a Goodwill store in Austin, Texas. https://t.co/lWwOE67k7w
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 8, 2022
Taken to the Museum
After the discovery, Young kept the statue for three years. She then negotiated with antiquities dealers who bought it for a huge sum of money that has not been publicized.
At the moment, this important bust from ancient Rome is on display for the public to take a look at. It’s behind heavy protection of course, due to its immense value.
The bust was recently delivered to the San Antonio Museum of Art, where it is part of an exhibition that runs until May 2023.
Lynley McAlpine, who works at the museum, said it is impossible to give an exact monetary value to an item that is part of an important phase of human history. After this, the statue must return to Pompejanum in Aschaffenburg, Germany.
In April of this year, shortly after delivering the piece to the museum, Young received in return a 3D printed model of the piece.
The replica is kept in the living room of her house, in the same place where the original bust remained for more than three years.
Why can’t I ever find a score like this?
“A woman bought a statue for $34.99 at a Goodwill in Texas. It turned out to be an ancient Roman artifact — and likely looted.”https://t.co/dauP3tQX6v
— Martina Markota (@MartinaMarkota) May 6, 2022
The Bottom Line
You just never know what you’ll find at a thrift store.
Sometimes what looks like a random piece of stone or concrete turns out to be a real antiquity worth a huge amount of money with priceless value for history.