Rihanna amazed by marble sculpture tribute at 2022 Met Gala
Cover Media

A woman who purchased a white marble sculpture of a human head at a Goodwill store was shocked to discover its real age and value.

Laura Young, an antique dealer from Austin, Texas bought the 50-pound bust back in 2018 at a bargain price of $34.99 and strapped it passenger seat of her car with a seatbelt to take home, KUT reported.

She noticed her new purchase was "clearly antique - clearly old," and was keen to learn more about the sculpture so Young got in touch with an auction house in London where they identified the bust to be a portrait of Drusus Germanicus, a Roman general.

They also revealed that the bust was really old (we're talking over 2,000 years old) and its last known location was in the 1920s and 30s at the Pompejanum, a museum in the German city of Aschaffenburg which was built in the 1840s by the then-King Ludwig the First.

Near the end of World War II, the Nazis and US Army fought each other in Aschaffenburg in the spring of 1945 and as a result, the museum suffered substantial damage from the bombing.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

"We know that many of the objects [in the museum] were either destroyed in the Allied bombing campaign or looted afterward," Stephennie Mulder, an art history professor at UT Austin, toldKUTand added how a US solider may have looted the bust himself or bought it off someone else who looted the item.

The bust's whereabouts remained a mystery ever since - that is until it randomly showed up in a Goodwill in Austin of all places where Young purchased it.

But now the origins of the piece have been discovered, the antique dealer realised she couldn't keep it nor sell it so contacted a lawyer in New York who specializes in international art law where negotiations began to try to get it back to Germany.

However, this process has taken a long time - much longer than anticipated thanks to the Covid pandemic and during this time it meant that Young was able to keep the bust on display in her house.

It's fair to say she became attached to the sculpture, jokingly naming it Dennis after the narcissist character from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Dennis Reynolds.

"He was attractive, he was cold, he was aloof," Young explained the reason behind the nickname to KUT. "I couldn't really have him. He was difficult."

A deal has since been reached in the negotiations so the bust will be returned to the German authorities.

But before that, it will be on display in a year-long Roman antique exhibition at the San Antonio Museum of Art where the sculpture will then be given back to Germany next summer.

While Dennis may have parted way with Young, she made a memento of her memorable find in the form of a half-size 3D replica of the Roman general's head to go with her collections of busts in her home.

It just goes to show you never know what you might find in a Goodwill store.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)