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A two-thousand-year-old Roman bust sold second-hand for 33 euros

The mystery remains intact. How did a priceless piece of Roman art, which had disappeared during World War II, travel so many miles to end up in this Goodwill store in Texas in the United States? The marble bust, which was carved during the 1st century BC or early Christian era, and was part of a Bavarian museum collection before it evaporated more of 77 years in the middle of the war, would have been fraudulently reported in the United States, advances the American media The Art Newspaper Thursday, May 5. But then, impossible to understand, for the moment, how the statue ended up on the shelves of Goodwill, a store selling second-hand, in 2018.

It is an American, Laura Young, who would have bought the statue with a yellow label on the cheek, she explains to The Art Newspaper, for 34.99 dollars, or nearly 33 euros. “It looked quite dirty, quite old,” recalls the buyer who is thinking of making it a garden decoration first. But intrigued, she does some research. She ends up contacting an auction house, which confirms the age of the statue.

Statue returned to Germany within a year

The man represented could be Drusus Germanicus, a respected Roman general, or a son of Pompey the Great, explains the media specializing in art. It was in the forties in the museum “Pompejanum” in Aschaffenburg, Bavaria. The site housed a large number of works of art from all over Europe in Germany: it is said to have been looted in the last days of the war.

When contacted, the German authorities wanted the bust returned to them. For now, it is on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art. In a year, he will return to Germany, after an agreement has been reached with Laura Young. The latter will receive a “small finder’s fee”. A reward for the one who searched for the origin of this bust for months.


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