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Ancient Roman Bust Found In Thrift Store At Bargain Price

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Ancient Roman Bust Found In Thrift Store At Bargain Price

A bust of a Roman general, thought to be around 2,000 years old, was discovered at a Texan thrift store and bought by a stunned shopper for an incredible bargain.

The remarkable find was picked up by antique dealer Laura Young at a Goodwill in Austin four years ago while shopping for potential treasures.

Despite being 'pretty dirty', she immediately spotted its potential value and had an employee help her carry the bust to her car after purchasing it for $34.99 (£28.23). And as it turns out, the bust, thought to be of Roman general Drusus Germanicus, dates back around 2,000 years.

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This was only truly realised by Young when she attempted to sell the piece at Sotheby's - a London auction house. There, she was advised that 'Dennis' couldn't be legally sold in the US, as the bust was very likely to have been stolen by an allied soldier during World War 2.

The bust found in a Texas thrift store. Credit: Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes
The bust found in a Texas thrift store. Credit: Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes

“So unfortunately in this case, it might have been a US soldier who either looted it himself or purchased it from someone who had looted the object,” said Stephennie Mulder, an art history professor at UT Austin, to KUT.

After realising she couldn't keep hold of a potentially looted artifact, Young ended up contacting New York lawyer, Leila Amineddoleh, who helped organise the transfer of the bust back to Germany, where it was considered lost or damaged until the rediscovery.

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“I advised Laura not to sell it, either publicly or privately, that is, on the black market,” said Ms Amineddoleh. “She risked expensive legal battles or criminal penalties if she tried.”

As The Independent report, a Sothby's expert speculates that the bust was previously on display at a museum in the German town of Aschaffenburg.

As such, it is now be returned to the country, and the famous museum known as the Pompejanum, which was heavily bombed during the Second World War.

Laura Young with the 2,000 year old bust that she discovered. Credit: Instagram/@templeofvintage
Laura Young with the 2,000 year old bust that she discovered. Credit: Instagram/@templeofvintage
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“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 in a statement.

The bust of Germanicus, who was the adopted son of Roman emperor Tiberius and father of Caligula, will be displayed at the San Antonio Museum of Modern Art for a year - before being shipped back to Germany next year.

It is then likely to go display at the Pompejanum with a plaque mentioning Laura's name, the Texas museum stated in a press release.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@templeofvintage

Topics: News, Germany, Texas, US News

Tom Fenton
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