Laura Young’s story was chronicled by Matt Largey for the local NPR station in Austin, Texas.
Buckle up for a thread about this crazy story. \n\nhttps://kutne.ws/3KCLjgI\u00a0pic.twitter.com/Fw2wjvmrSh— Matt Largey (@Matt Largey) 1651685696
Then Laura found out what it is: A 2,000-year-old portrait bust of a Roman general.\n\nSafe to say, it's probably worth more than $34.99.\n\nBut how did it get to an @AustinGoodwill store?\n\nFor that, let's go back more than 100 years...— Matt Largey (@Matt Largey) 1651686096
Young, who works as an antique dealer, discovered the bust during a trip to a goodwill in Austin in 2018. She often looked through thrift stores, hoping to find overlooked treasures.
However, this seemed like a much bigger deal. When she found the bust, she noted that it was whit, made of marble and weighed about 50 pounds.
She described the bust, saying:
“Clearly antique—clearly old.”
On top of that, it was only being sold for $34.99, so she bought the statue and took it home.
Her research led her to discover the bust wasn’t just old, it was ancient, dating back to the first century. It depicted a man named Drusus Germanicus and was last seen in a German museum in the 1930s.
Now came the difficult part—giving the statue back.
What a wild story.— Mountain Lions In My Backyard\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udf10\ud83c\udf2e\ud83d\ude9a\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89 (@Mountain Lions In My Backyard\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udf10\ud83c\udf2e\ud83d\ude9a\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89) 1651686581
That was an entertaining and interesting article. Who knew it would be hard to give something back? Adios, Dennis!— Glenn Ray \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Glenn Ray \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1652044166
great story! enjoyed reading something good in the news for a change!!— Minoti Sahu (@Minoti Sahu) 1651718532
What a relaxing leisurely story. Thank you for sharing.— george bolatiwa (@george bolatiwa) 1651766032
It’s not uncommon for German-owned art to show up randomly around the world. World War II saw people looting some of these art pieces from museums during and after much of the fighting.
Likely the bust was passed around, before someone donated it to Goodwill, who had no clue the true value of the statue.
This is all well and good, but how do you return such a treasure? Young went through this exact problem.
She hired an attorney who specializes in international law, Leila Amineddoleh. From there, they negotiated with a German museum, which is difficult under ideal circumstances. However, the pandemic made the whole process far more complicated.
While this was going on, Young grew a little attached to the bust, who she named Dennis after the character from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
She said of the name choice:
“He was attractive, he was cold, he was aloof. I couldn't really have him. He was difficult.”
“So, yeah, my nickname for him was Dennis.”
Finally, an agreement was reached. Terms of the deal are confidential, but it is known the bust will be on display in a museum in Texas for one year prior to returning to Germany.
All this for a bit of marble and history.
The only two stories I want to think about today are:\nThe woman who bought a priceless Roman sculpture for $35 at Goodwill !\nAnd the spectacular Kentucky Derby win by Rich Strike + Sonny Leon!— Wendy Jacobson (@Wendy Jacobson) 1652034939
Best part: he named him Dennis after @AlwaysSunnyFXX because she says "He was attractive, he was cold, he was aloof...I couldn't really have him. He was difficult."\n"Woman buys 2,000 year old Roman sculpture for just $34.99"https://www.indy100.com/news/woman-roman-sculpture-austin-texas\u00a0\u2026— Gratefully Deadicated (@Gratefully Deadicated) 1651839036
Woah. I forgot about that story. Was that 20 years ago or 2 seconds ago?— Elizabeth (@Elizabeth) 1651777829
Got you to respond and give him social media engagement. (slow clap)— Luis E. Rodriguez (@Luis E. Rodriguez) 1651777589
ngl, that clickbait title caught me & I thought she found a real human head— biscooti cookie (@biscooti cookie) 1651894806
‘Dennis’ will be on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art in their extensive Roman antiquities collection until May 21, 2023.
While he’s set to return to Germany after that, Young decided to keep a small reminder of her time with the bust. She had a small model 3D printed that she keeps as a token of the time she had a 2000-year-old statue in her living room.