She buys a marble bust for $ 35 at the flea market and then discovers it comes from ancient Rome.


How many discoveries can you make on the shelves of a thrift store? Many, judging by the stories we often tell you. Curious objects, unexpected and valuable finds, tell us stories of the past and the distant past. The purchase we are about to tell you about, however, deserves special attention because it is a real piece of ancient history that ended up in the hands of a woman who, at first, would never have imagined hers. Real origin.

What is it about? Of a marble bust bought in 2018 for the modest sum of $ 35 at a flea market in Austin , Texas. The antique dealer sold it as a ” twentieth century ” object, one of the many replicas of sculptures dating back to ancient Rome. Yet the woman has never been 100% convinced of these characteristics. Her doubts turned into certainties when she had him analyzed in depth. What did she find out? That it is a real Roman bust!

The stories that hide behind certain objects are curious and fascinating to say the least, and this bust proves it. When Texan Laura Young saw him at Goodwill , an antique shop in the city of Austin, he was certainly not as valued as he should have been. The sculpture was there, lying on the floor next to other “market” objects, but she immediately felt that it could reveal something special.

So, he bought it for $ 34.99 and took it home. Once there, the doubts became more and more pressing, to the point that Young decided that she would submit her object to the attention of the experts. After consulting antique dealers and auction houses, her investigations led her to discover the truth: other than the twentieth century, that bust was really an object of ancient Rome, with centuries and centuries of history behind it!

It is understandable that, at that point, Laura was struck by great amazement. How was it possible that the sculpture ended up in the United States? And where did she come from? According to research, its origin is to be traced back to the Julio-Claudian age , between the first century BC and the first AD. This dating is enough to understand its value, considered almost inestimable.

” It is an object to which it is almost impossible to attribute a monetary value – commented Lynley McAlpine, of the San Antonio Museum of Art – it has too important a history, and could never be sold “. According to the expert, the bust could represent the Roman military leader Sesto Pompeo, son of Gneo Pompeo and who lived between 67 and 35 BC.

The main question, however, remained: how did he end up in Texas? The investigations, in this regard, have tried to answer. According to what has emerged, the bust would have belonged to the collection of a sumptuous nineteenth-century villa in Aschaffenburg , Germany, a place where both original artifacts and replicas were kept. During the Second World War, after suffering damage, it could therefore have been stolen by American soldiers , who would have brought it with them just like a war booty .

” It has been there staring at us in the living room for over three years , the discovery was exciting and it was very beautiful, but I knew I couldn’t keep it ,” said Laura Young, who will now have to return the item to the cultural authorities. The bust, in fact, will be delivered to the San Antonio Museum of Art , before his eventual return to Germany.

Incredible, right?

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