Hero Of The Week: Woman Recovers Stolen Ancient Statue… From A Goodwill
One of the lesser-discussed lasting effects of World War II was the massive amount of historical art that was lost during the war, and still remains undiscovered today. Whether it’s locked away in some bunker, stashed in a German farmhouse, or hanging in the house of a soldier that shoved it where the sun don’t shine, there’s constant work being done to find these pieces and make them available to the eyes of the world again. If you’d like to learn more about the efforts while also watching a thoroughly mediocre movie, I recommend the 2014 film The Monuments Men.
The idea of reclaiming history’s greatest lost artworks might immediately bring to mind visions of rappelling into tombs, or tracking down some old Nazi on a respirator and making him write down the location of a Van Gogh with a trembling hand. An unearthing that includes the requisite climactic moment of blowing a whole bunch of dust off something to reveal the face of some Mona Lisa look alike. Sometimes, though, reclaiming centuries-old art is a lot simpler, like walking into a Goodwill with $35 burning a hole in your pocket.
That’s what happened to a Texas art collector. Visiting a local Goodwill, she spotted a marble bust lying under a table, marked for sale at the price of $35, which, to be fair, is maybe the highest price I’ve ever seen at a Goodwill. She bought the piece, plopped it down in her house, and then, maybe curious as to how exactly a sculpture made out of GENUINE ROMAN MARBLE ended up at Goodwill, called in the experts.
I doubt even she expected the experts to come back and say, “Hey, that head you bought at Goodwill? It MIGHT predate the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ.” They estimate the bust, which is thought to be one of Pompey the Great’s sons, is from either the first century B.C. or the first century A.D.
The bust is on its way back to Germany, where I highly doubt it’ll be sharing a room with novelty margarita glasses and old VHS copies of The Pelican Brief. The recently separated owner did call it “bittersweet, since I knew I couldn’t keep or sell the (bust.)” Which just teaches an important lesson: if you think you might own an ancient roman bust, take it to Antiques Roadshow FIRST, and let THEM call the museums, so you might at least be able to get some cash out of it. Your name on a plaque is nice, but rent don’t pay itself.