Austin Texas Woman Finds Ancient Roman Bust in a Thrift Store
Back in 2018 Laura Young, of Austin Tx, while sifting through the nick knacks and brickabrack of good wood items ran across a priceless work of Roman art without even knowing it at the time. While perusing the wares at a local goodwill Young came across a dirty, dust covered sculpture with a yellow price tag on the cheek. The bust was a hefty 52 pounds and aside from the layers of dirt and dust in very good condition. She paid the amount on the yellow tag of $34.99, buckled her disembodied head up in the backseat of her car and away she went. Little did she know at the time what she had found amidst the used tubber ware and various furniture items. That day Laura Young buckled up a priceless piece of history, a work of Roman art that had gone missing after World War II. That head sitting in her back seat, titled "Portrait of a Man" was sculpted some time around the 1st century B.C. or possibly early A.D., this according to the San Antonio Museum of Art (where it happens to be currently on display).
How it ended up in an Austin, Tx goodwill store we may never know. According to the article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram experts believe that the bust was looted from a German museum after WWII and then brought home by a U.S. soldier, per the SA Museum of Art.
After Young brought the uniquely interesting sculpture home she decided to do some research, thinking there may be something more to her find. After contacting an auction house in London she found out she was absolutely correct. The bust could be that of Drusus Germanicus who as it turns out was a respected Roman general.
After being advised of it's worth and historical significance Young was told not to sell it publicly or privately. German authorities were contacted who were more than ready to welcome home to long lost piece of historical art. The Bavarian Administration of State Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes agreed to pay Young a finders fee and even to go so far as to allow the San Antonio Museum of Art to display the bust temporarily before it is returned home for good.
The bust was revealed just yesterday at the San Antonio Museum of Art (May 4th) and will be on display until May 21st, 2023.