Vase bought at charity shop for $3.99 sells for $107,000 at auction

Jessica Vincent’s routine visit to a Goodwill store in Hanover County, Virginia, in June, transformed into an extraordinary find. Amidst the usual array of VCRs, lamps, and glassware, a unique iridescent glass vase caught her attention. Its bottle shape and red and green swirls stood out, and a small “M” on the bottom suggested to her it might be from Murano, the famed Italian glass-making island.

Vincent felt the piece could be valuable, maybe worth a couple of thousand dollars. Surprisingly, the vase was priced at only $3.99, a bargain she couldn’t pass up.

Back home, Vincent’s quest to uncover the vase’s origins led her to Facebook glass identification groups. Here, she learned that the piece might be a creation of Carlo Scarpa, the esteemed Italian architect. Following this lead, she contacted Wright Auction House.

Richard Wright, president of the auction house, immediately sensed the vase’s significance upon seeing the photos. The vase, later identified as part of Scarpa’s 1940s “Pennellate” series, was auctioned for a staggering $107,100 to a European private art collector, with Vincent receiving about $83,500.

Despite initial estimates of $30,000 to $50,000, the vase’s pristine condition significantly boosted its value. Laura Faison, a spokeswoman for Goodwill of Central & Coastal Virginia, noted the difficulty in tracing the vase’s original donor among the millions of annual donations.

For Vincent, a polo horse trainer, the windfall from the vase is set to transform her life. She plans to renovate her recently purchased 1930 farmhouse, which currently relies on space heaters for warmth. The proceeds will go towards heating upgrades, a dishwasher, and additional fencing.

Vincent, a lifelong thrift store enthusiast and “Antiques Roadshow” fan, has always enjoyed finding hidden gems. Her knack for spotting valuable items at thrift stores has been honed over years of experience, but this particular find was life-changing, encapsulating the excitement and unpredictability of thrift shopping.

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