An American woman found a 2,000-year-old Roman statue four years ago without her knowledge.
In August 2018, Texan Laura Young purchased a marble statue from Goodwill thrift store in Austin for $34.99 (about €33). “I was looking for something that looked interesting,” says the woman. CNN† “Because it was such a big deal, I couldn’t think of a good reason not to take it with me.”
Anyway, Young has a nose for special discoveries. For more than ten years, it has been selling all kinds of antiques, which you find in thrift stores, at a higher price. Because she felt this particular photo was special, upon purchasing it, she consulted several auction houses.
In the end, Sotheby’s was able to confirm that the statue, which weighs more than 23 kilograms, dates back to ancient Roman times and is estimated to be 2,000 years old. An expert finally found photos in a digital database, the photo appears in 1931 in a courtyard in the German city of Aschaffenburg. There was in the so-called pompiganum, a replica of a Roman house.
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stolen from store
The person who is likely to have a bust has also been identified. The Roman military commander would be Sixtus Pompey, according to Linley MacAlpine of the San Antonio Museum of Art. The father of Sextus was the great Pompey, an ally of Julius Caesar. How the statue ended up in the thrift store remains a mystery. It was last seen in Germany during World War II. The statue was safely stored in storage during the war, after which it is presumed to have been stolen.
“It looks like someone found it and took it somewhere between storage and 1950,” McAlpine said. “Since the statue eventually ended up in the United States, it seems to me most likely that an American stationed in Aschaffenburg got his hands on it.”
Young asked whoever donated the bust to the thrift store to come forward. So far no one has done that. The bust is currently on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas for a year. The statue will then be returned to Bombeganum in Aschaffenburg, where it will also be displayed. It was not announced whether Young received any amount of money to buy the statue.
Where Young found the bust, a Goodwill thrift store in Austin, Texas:
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