To pinch yourself and see if you’re awake.
In 2018, Laura Young bought a bust at Goodwill, a thrift store in Austin, Texas, for just $35.
He took a picture of him immediately after strapping him to the front seat of his car.
The woman, who works as a freelance antiques saleswoman, told BBC News’ Chloe Kim that she went to the store “in hopes of finding something cool”.
But upon closer examination in the sun, it seemed to him that the bust might be “very, very old,” he recalls.
So I quickly googled for “Roman marble busts” and after seeing the pictures I thought they were the same.
Young began to investigate and discovered that the statue he had just purchased was a 2,000-year-old Roman bust from the 1st century BC. Or the first century AD.
It was a priceless item.
“I’m not sure how to put a huge monetary value on something that has such an important history, but otherwise could never be sold,” says Lynley McAlpine of the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas.
He claims the bust could represent Sextus Pompey, the Roman military leader who fought Julius Caesar.
Further investigation revealed that the bust’s origin dates back to Germany, specifically to a perfect replica of a Roman villa in Bavaria that displayed original artifacts alongside replicas.
The “Villa Romana” in Pompigianum, located in the town of Aschaffenburg, was built in the 1840s and destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II.
It is unclear how the bust arrived from Aschaffenburg to Austin, but an American soldier is believed to have transported the statue to the United States.
American forces were stationed at Aschaffenburg until the end of the Cold War.
As it was likely an item that had been looted during the war, Young couldn’t think of selling it as an artifact.
Instead, he negotiated the loan of the statue to the San Antonio Art Museum before returning to Bavaria.
But negotiations took several years, during which Young kept the bust in his living room.
“She looked so good. And he’s been there watching us for over three years.
Young admits that delivering the bust to the San Antonio Museum of Art was a bittersweet moment because he knew he would never find anything like it again.
“Even if I found something more valuable and could sell it and make that profit, the crash would probably be the best thing (I’ve ever found),” he adds.
Last weekend, Young went to see the bust at the museum: “It was great to see it there, where it is and where it should be.”
The artifact is currently on display in San Antonio, Texas and will be returned to Bombiganum in May 2023.