Authentic Ancient Roman Bust Shows Up at Goodwill Store
A woman in Texas scored the Goodwill find of a lifetime after purchasing a Roman bust for about $35, only to later find out it was an authentic 2000-year-old piece of art.
Laura Young told KXAN News that she purchased the 52-pound marble bust in 2018 from her local Goodwill store in Austin, Texas.
"I have a history degree. I have taken art history classes, so at that point, I am like, 'I think this thing might be really, really, old.' So, I did some Google image searching and, you know, looked up 'Roman marble bust,' and I was like, 'Oh yeah, that looks like my guy,'" she explained.
Experts are unclear on how the centuries-old sculpture made its way to Texas. However, they have determined that the art has been missing from Germany since World War II.
According to CNN, Young contacted experts to gather information about the history of her unique marble find.
A specialist was able to connect the dots using a digital database that found photos of the bust in Bavaria, Germany in the 1930s.
A postdoctoral curatorial fellow at San Antonio Museum of Art also lent a helping hand.
Lynley McAlpine told CNN that the Roman bust is most likely a depiction of Sextus Pompey, a Roman military leader who came from a strong military bloodline. Pompey's father is thought to be Pompey the Great, who was a notable ally of Julius Caesar.
The Roman bust is thought to have been initially housed in the Pompejanum (or Pompeiianum), a Roman villa replica once owned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. It was last noted as part of a collection seen in a German museum that WWII soldiers bombed.
The bust has been missing since the invasion.
Young's find is currently on temporary display at the San Antonio Museum. It will make its way back to Germany in 2023.