A marble bust that a Texas woman bought for about $35 from a Goodwill store is temporarily on display at a San Antonio museum after experts determined it was a centuries-old sculpture missing from Germany since World War II.
The bust, which art collector Laura Young found at Goodwill in 2018, once belonged in the collection of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, according to the San Antonio Museum of Art, which is temporarily displaying the piece until it is returned to Germany next year.
Young said there were a few months of “intense excitement” after learning the history behind the piece, which she found on the floor beneath a table at a Goodwill in Austin, Texas.
Photo of the bust, secured with a seatbelt in the passenger seat of her car, was shared on the museum's Facebook page. A yellow price sticker can be seen on the right cheek of the Roman artifact.
“But it was bittersweet since I knew I couldn’t keep or sell the (bust),” she said. "Either way, 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.”
The ancient Roman bust dates to the first century B.C. or first century A.D. It was last seen in Aschaffenburg, Germany, and experts believe a soldier took the sculpture and brought it to the United States, the museum said.
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A Sotheby's consultant identified the work and it was further authenticated, the museum said.
“We are very pleased that a piece of Bavarian history that we thought was lost has reappeared and will soon be able to return to its rightful location," said Bernd Schreiber, president of the Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens, and Lakes.