In a stroke of remarkable luck, a Goodwill vase at $3.99 earns woman more than $80k! Jessica Vincent, a 43-year-old woman, discovered a hidden gem in the aisles of a Goodwill store in Virginia. What appeared to be a simple $3.99 glass vase turned out to be a valuable antique, leading to an astonishing profit of over $80,000. This extraordinary tale unfolds with a blend of chance, expertise, and a keen eye for value.
Vincent, an avid thrift store visitor, stumbled upon an iridescent glass vase with red and green swirls during a routine visit in June. This vase, which initially seemed unremarkable, caught her attention. Upon closer inspection, she noticed a small “M” on the bottom, leading her to suspect it might be from Murano, Italy, known for its exquisite glassware. "I had a sense that it might be a $1,000 or $2,000 piece," Vincent shared with The New York Times, "but I had no clue how good it actually was until I did a little bit more research."
After paying a modest $3.99 – a price she initially thought would be double – Vincent embarked on a journey to uncover the true value of her find. She turned to Facebook groups specializing in glass identification, where members pointed out the vase's potential link to Carlo Scarpa, a renowned Italian architect. This revelation led her to Wright Auction House, where the vase was eventually auctioned for a staggering $107,100 to an unidentified private art collector in Europe.
Richard Wright, the president of Wright Auction House, was immediately struck by the photos of the vase. "The minute I saw the photos I had a really good feeling," he said. Wright's expertise identified the vase as part of the "Pennellate" series designed by Scarpa in the 1940s. The vase's pristine condition significantly boosted its value. "If it had a chip, even a small chip, it would have probably sold for under $10,000," Wright explained to The Times. "This was like a winning lottery ticket."
The sale fetched about $83,500 for Vincent and around $23,600 for Wright Auction House. Laura Faison, a spokeswoman for Goodwill of Central & Coastal Virginia, acknowledged the difficulty in tracing the vase's original donor, given the organization's volume of over 2 million donations per year.
Despite its monetary value, Vincent never considered keeping the vase. "When I did learn how rare they are and the value that it could be, it made me sort of nervous to have it because anything could happen to it," she said. Her concern for its safety and her appreciation for its art historical significance led her to decide on its sale. "I feel like I saved it from obscurity," she added.
This windfall comes at a pivotal moment for Vincent, who recently purchased a 1930s farmhouse requiring significant renovations. The funds from the vase's sale will enable her to make much-needed improvements, including upgrading the heating system and adding fencing.
Vincent's story is not just about a fortunate find but also about her lifelong passion for thrift store hunting, a hobby she shared with her mother since childhood. Her love for researching her purchases and her enthusiasm for "Antiques Roadshow" played a crucial role in recognizing and validating the value of her find.
Her experience with buying and researching various items, like woodcarvings and lithographs, prepared her for this life-changing discovery. "In all of my years of thrift store shopping, though, I never expected a discovery to change my life, but that’s part of the fun of it," Vincent reflected. "You never know what you’re going to find. It’s the thrill of the hunt."
Vincent's remarkable story highlights the unexpected treasures that can be found in the most ordinary places. It's a testament to the value of knowledge, the excitement of exploration, and the potential of a $3.99 investment turning into a significant financial and historical discovery.