Woman gets over $100k for vase bought at Goodwill for $3.99

A woman who purchased a glass vase at Goodwill for $3.99 just bagged over $100,000 for it at auction. Regretfully, I am not this woman. Jessica Vincent thought her find might be valuable after spotting an ‘M’ on the bottom presumed to be for Murano, the Venetian island famed for glass blowing. Then an expert confirmed the piece was part of the Pennellate series by prominent Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. Scarpa was famous in his home country for revitalizing museum spaces, and apparently he also dabbled in glassware. There’s gonna be a massive stampede to Goodwill stores now, right?

A woman who bought a glass vase for $3.99 at a local Goodwill charity shop has seen the piece auctioned off for more than $100,000 after it turned out to be a rare and valuable piece of Italian glassware.

Jessica Vincent had bought the item at a Goodwill thrift store in Hanover county, Virginia, and had an inkling that it might have been worth a little more than was usual, she told the New York Times.

“I had a sense that it might be a $1,000 or $2,000 piece, but I had no clue how good it actually was until I did a little bit more research,” she told the paper after noticing a small ‘M’ on its bottom which she suspected might stand for Murano, and Italian island near Venice famed for glasswork.

After snapping it up for a penny short of four bucks, Vincent researched the piece online where enthusiasts pointed out it resembled a work by the famous Italian architect Carlo Scarpa.

Vincent eventually sent pictures of the vase to the Wright Auction House and almost immediately its president, Richard Wright, got in touch for a chat. “The minute I saw the photos I had a really good feeling,” Wright told the Times.

Last week it sold for $107,100 to an unidentified private art collector in Europe after it was officially identified as being part of Scarpa’s 1940s “Pennellate” series.

[From The Guardian]

Oh man, she hit the thrift store jackpot! I could be jealous (and I am), but I’m also plotting. You guys, my mother has a collection of mid-century Murano glass ashtrays. She doesn’t smoke, she just likes them as objet d’art. She’s also looking to downsize. So right now I have dollar signs in my eyes like Daffy or Scrooge McDuck (pick your favorite duck), dreaming of the fortunes that could be reaped. A quick perusal at Etsy, however, has swiftly brought me back down to earth. Prices for similar ashtrays range from $25 – $425. No slouch, but no $100k either. But I bet we could put away a decent stash if we add in some of our vintage Pyrex dishes. So I guess I’ll be at this “working for a living” thing for a little while longer, sigh.

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20 Responses to “Woman gets over $100k for vase bought at Goodwill for $3.99”

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  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I know whoever donated that vase to Goodwill is kicking themselves—mainly for donating anything to that scam of a place bur also for letting go of treasure.

  2. It Really Is You, Not Me says:

    I know somebody who found a $40 painting at Goodwill a couple of years ago and auctioned it at Sotheby’s for 6 figures. I was tempted to set up camp at hunting then.

    • T-Rex says:

      I love that finding treasure is still possible. My mum used to have an antique shop in the 80s, and she would re-stock her shop by hitting all the resale stores. Most of these places’ employees are collectors, so it’s amazing this vase went unnoticed.

  3. Sarah says:

    My daughter bought a jar of mixed jewelry from our local thrift store for $5 because she likes to make earrings from older pieces rather than buying new beads. When we were sorting through it, a pendent caught my eye. I cleaned it and it was from Tiffany! We sold it for $120 and she was so happy.

    • kelleybelle says:

      I have a friend who used to hit all the thrift stores every day and she found some amazing things. She found what she thought was an old copper bracelet at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It was in a big tray with other costume jewelry pieces. It caught her eye because it had a safety chain, which was unusual for a costume piece. Upon closer inspection she saw a 14K stamp. It was an Edwardian rose-gold bracelet, worth about $3K. That was a successful day!

  4. Bumblebee says:

    There is so much random glassware rattling on shelves at thrift store. She really did make a good find.

    • FancyPants says:

      And Faberge eggs! It would be sooo fascinating to know the stories of how these pieces got from where they started to where they were found.

  5. Lucy says:

    There was also the lady in Austin who recently found a Grecian bust (? I think). A legitimate museum piece. It just means that people are cleaning out granny’s house and don’t know what it is.

  6. DancingCorgi says:

    A lot of these kinds of hidden treasures come from estate disbursement. Great Aunt Sally died and you have a weekend to empty her house, hire a realtor and find a lawn service to mow until it sells. Things that you might recognize as valuable at a more leisurely time get overlooked in the haze of haste.

    • Libra says:

      True. Time is the reason estates get donated. The out of town granddaughters have only a short time frame to settle things and hiring an appraiser to do a walk through just is not doable.

      • Elle says:

        While we have not sold anything, we have had great luck at estate sales. Random paintings worth a lot but more importantly, fun costume jewelry! And furniture! For those of you uneasy with the idea of estate sales, they aren’t always sales of people who have passed away. About half of the time, it is for people merely downsizing. We also went to an estate sale that took place at a museum that was closing! So lots of art, furniture, etc. It’s a fun hobby!

  7. Lucy2 says:

    That’s amazing, I hope she does something wonderful with the money.
    The best I ever did was a one dollar book that turned out to be worth $75.

  8. Roisin says:

    How fun! My best finds were at a tiny estate sale years ago. Found a Baccarat bud vase and a single Lalique champagne flute for $5 each. The Lalique Langeais flute retails now for over $200. I use it every New Year’s eve lol.

  9. Alarmjaguar says:

    Your opening lines cracked me up, Kismet! 🙂

    • Christine says:


      I love stories like this, they make my very garage sale self happy.

    • Beeks says:

      I inherited a beautiful lamp that my grandmother had bought at an estate sale. It eventually stopped working so I took it to a shop to be repaired. The electrician called me a week later and told me he had to completely dismantle the lamp to rewire it. He then asked, “Would you like me to preserve the human ashes in the base?” 🥺😩 👻

  10. Bread and Circuses says:

    Someone I knew in university bought some second-hand textbooks, and, paging through them, started to find stamps pressed between the pages.

    The stamps weren’t worth a life-changing amount of money, but they took a pleasingly large bite out of his tuition for that semester.