Woman buys a $4 bottle at thrift shop, sells for six figures at auction

Sushim Mukul
Sushim MukulDec 20, 2023 | 13:20

Woman buys a $4 bottle at thrift shop, sells for six figures at auction

Vincent’s purchase came after years of combing yard sales and thrift stores. Photo: Associated Press/dailyO

Jessica Vincent, a 43-year-old horse trainer from Virginia, USA, discovered a seemingly ordinary glass bottle during a routine visit to a local Goodwill thrift store in the summer of 2023.

Priced at a modest $3.99 (Rs 331), the bottle-shaped glass item featured ribbons of aqua green and amethyst purple. Vincent was immediately drawn to its aesthetic appeal and decided to take it home, as reported by the Associated Press.


Thrift to treasure

  • The purchase was made after she was drawn to its aesthetic appeal. She said. “I bought it thinking it would look beautiful in my house somewhere."
  • Her perspective on the purchase changed after some social media comments and conducting research.
  • To her surprise, the vase turned out to be a rare specimen of Murano glass, a renowned craft from the Venetian island of Murano that dates back to the 13th century.
  • On December 13, the vase was auctioned through the Wright Auction House for a staggering $1,07,100 (Rs 89,05,365) with the buyer choosing to remain anonymous.
  • Richard Wright, president of the Goodwill auction house, immediately recognised the rarity and significance of the find.
  • The vase, designed by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa and produced by the esteemed Venini glass company in 1942, belonged to a limited collection named Pennellate, meaning brushstroke.
  • The intricate process involved adding coloured opaque glass to the vase as it was blown, requiring precision and expertise.
  • Wright also expressed his surprise at the vase's perfect condition and rarity.
  • “You have to keep rotating this vase the entire time or it’ll slump off the pipe. While at the same time, you’re applying these delicate brushes of colour that have this absolute lightness to them,” he told the Associated Press.

What happened next?

  • Vincent's thrift store find, which likely spent only a few days on the shelf, will now make its way to an auction.
  • The auction house will receive approximately $23,600 from the sale, while Vincent is set to receive around $83,500.
  • The treasure will go towards installing an HVAC system in her recently acquired farmhouse, she told the Associated Press.
  • Vincent hoped that the vase would find a place in a museum someday and felt her quaint 1930s farmhouse was not the ideal showcase for the piece.

In the end, a $4 thrift store purchase turned into a six-figure treasure.

Last updated: December 20, 2023 | 13:20
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