painting that was dropped off at a Goodwill store in Virginia may soon sell
for nearly $20,000—with the proceeds going to a good cause.
Goodwill employee Maria Rivera found the
painting in a donation bin in November, but she set the item aside on a hunch
that it might be of value. “I didn’t know how much at the time, but I knew we
had some money here,” Rivera told a local NBC
affiliate last week.
In fact, Rivera said she based her opinion
of the painting on a memory of having recently seen a similar work at a
The painting, which depicts an elderly
woman drinking a cup of tea, was then taken to an appraiser, who said it's worth
between $12,000 and $18,000.
Of course, Goodwill officials say they
won’t be surprised if someone, or even multiple people, come forward claiming to
be the accidental donor of the Torriglia painting. However, because there was no
proof of ownership left with the painting at the time, Goodwill officials say
it’s unlikely an individual could take ownership.
Goodwill adds that it will use the proceeds
for its job-training program.
The unusual discovery is actually part of a
larger trend of people making accidental art donations to Goodwill in recent
In November, a Salvador
Dali sketch was found at a Seattle Goodwill donation center. As with the
Torriglia, the Dali work was put up for auction on the store’s website. And a
few months before that, a piece of pottery found at a New York Goodwill store
turned out to be a 1,000-year-old
artifact from a Native American burial site in Oklahoma.
The strange donations extend beyond the
world of art.
Also in November, a Texas
man accidentally gave away he and his wife’s life savings, which were
stuffed inside a pair of donated shoes. However, the store found the cash and
set it aside, allowing the family to retrieve the money a few days later.
Other donations have proven to be more
mysterious. For example, in May a St. Louis Goodwill donation center discovered
about $14,000 in cash in a box of Christmas tree decorations.