This $3.99 Thrift Store Find Earns Virginia Woman Six Figures at Auction

By: Lauren | Published: Dec 26, 2023

When shopping at a Goodwill store in Virginia, one woman found something extraordinary.

She knew that the vase she picked up was a great find at $3.99, but she had absolutely no idea that it was an incredible piece worth over $100,000.

Jessica Vincent’s Exciting Goodwill Find

Jessica, who raises polo horses in Virginia, was shopping at her local Goodwill when she noticed a beautiful vase with burgundy and green brushstrokes. She told the press, “I saw that it was a solid piece of glass and that it was heavy, not junk.”

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Exterior of a Goodwill store

Source: Getty Images

Then she noticed that the word “Murano” was engraved on the bottom of the vase, and said, “I’m not a glass expert, but once I saw the Murano marking, I knew I wanted to buy it.”

The Deal of a Lifetime

Jessica assumed the vase would be on the pricier side compared to the other home decor, but she was thrilled when she found out at the register it was only $3.99.

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Jessica Vincent with her Murano glass vase

Source: Facebook

Right when she got home, she decided to post a photo of her find on a Facebook group dedicated specifically to Murano glass to see what she could find out about it.

What Is Murano Glass?

Now, before understanding the information that Jessica received on the Facebook group, it’s essential to understand what Murano glass actually is.

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Logo for Murano Glass Italy

Source: Etsy

Murano is a beautiful series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, and there, some of the most incredible glass in the world is made. Residents of the island use special, ancient techniques in order to create the perfect pieces.

Finding a Unique Murano Piece

Jessica already knew that she had a Murano glass vase; she just didn’t know exactly how valuable it was.

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Screenshot of Murano vases for sale on Murano glass website

Source: Murano Glass Italy

There are many glassmakers in Murano, and also many different price tags for their pieces. While some Murano glass vases can cost a mere $150, others are in the tens or even hundreds of thousands.

What Facebook Had to Say

The members of the Murano Facebook group were “excited by it,” Jessica said. They immediately helped her identify the vase; it was designed by Carlo Scarpa, an Italian architect who created a collection for the Venini glass workshop in the 1940s.

Italian architect Carlo Scarpa

Source: Wikipedia

After the group had established who the piece was designed by and when it was made, then things got really interesting for Jessica.

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The First Offer

They say never take the first offer, but that was probably hard for Jessica when someone in the Murano glass Facebook group messaged her and offered $10,000 for the vase she had just bought for $3.99.

A Murano Glass piece sits beside a canal in Italy

Source: Welcome to Italia

But she did refrain as she realized that if this was the very first offer, who knows what it could really be worth.

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Calling the Right People

It was then that Jessica decided to call Richard Wright, the founder of the Wright auction house.

Richard Wright, owner of Wright auction house

Source: LinkedIn

Jessica reported that Richard was extremely helpful; she said, “We had a great phone call in which he explained how rare this piece was.”

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Ready to Be Auctioned

Jessica brought her now prized vase down to the auction house in Richmond, Virginia, where she met Richard and showed him the piece.

An art auction being hosted by Sotheby's

Source: Artsy

Richard was shocked that it really was authentic; he said, “I can count on one hand the times this has happened over the years. This is really a very, very rare occurrence — particularly at a Goodwill.”

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Wright’s Auction Proved Very Valuable

Of course, having the professionals behind you always helps when attempting to get the most for a valuable item. And Wright’s auction house certainly knows what they’re doing.

Screenshot from the Wright auction house website portraying glass vases available

Source: Wright

They have sold several Murano glass pieces, including even some from Scarpa’s collection. And as art collectors from around the world shop at these auctions, the audience was wildly excited about Jessica’s piece.

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Jessica’s $3.99 Vase Got Way More Than She Could Have Thought

At first, Richard Wright told Jessica that she should expect to make about $50,000, as typically vases by Carlo Scarpa make much less.

Carlo Scarpa vase ready for auction at the Wright auction house

Source: Wright

But in the end, it made a whole lot more; Jessica’s vase sold for $107,000, and she was completely ecstatic.

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Jessica’s Amazing Story

Jessica told the media, “The money means so much to us and will do so much for our lives and for our future together. This has been a real blessing, and I’m so happy that the vase is going somewhere where it can be safe and fully appreciated (and that it’s out of obscurity from a Goodwill!)”

Screenshot of the story of Jessica Vincent’s $3.99 vase sold for $107,000

Source: @rescueandreclaimed/Getty Images

And there is no doubt that her story will encourage people around the country and around the world to head to their nearest thrift store and start looking for the item that will change their lives.

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