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Woman finds ancient Roman bust at Texas Goodwill store

roman bust.jpg
Posted at 1:44 PM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-07 13:32:39-04

A woman in Texas who unknowingly bought an ancient Roman bust at Goodwill for $35 actually purchased a sculpture that went missing during World War II in Germany.

According to the San Antonio Museum of Art, art collector Laura Young initially found the sculpture underneath a table in 2018 at a Goodwill store in Austin.

Noticing that the bust was old and worn, she began researching to determine its authenticity and origin. 

The museum said Young met with art history experts from the University of Texas at Austin and from several auction houses before a Sotheby’s consultant identified the work and connected her with German authorities.

After examining the sculpture, experts determined not only that it once belonged in the collection of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, it dated from the late first century B.C. or first century A.D.

Young said, "there were a few months of intense excitement" after learning its history.

How it got to Texas remains a mystery, but experts believe a soldier in Aschaffenburg, Germany, after the war may have brought it back to the states.

The sculpture will remain on display at the museum until 2023, when it is returned to Germany.