Christmas came early for a Virginia woman who turned $3.99 into over $100,000 USD when she took a Goodwill purchase to auction. Back in June, Jessica Vincent was on a usual thrift visit in Hanover county when a holiday-colored vase caught her attention. After purchasing the translucent glass vase with red and green swirls spiraling throughout, she thought to bring it to an antiques expert to get it appraised.

Initially, Vincent thought the little “M” on the bottom of the vase denoted the Italian island of Murano, known globally as a hub for glassware. “I had a sense that it might be a $1,000 or $2,000 USD piece,” she told the New York Times, adding, “but I had no clue how good it actually was until I did a little bit more research.”

Turns out, the vase was an original work by renowned Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. A creative polymath in many regards, Scarpa is globally recognized as a Modernist master, who balanced craft and material in projects such as the designs for the Canova Museum and Castelvecchio Museum. The vase Vincent purchased stems from Scarpa’s “Pennellate” series in the 1940s, the name referencing the process the artist used to color the vase — not by painting on the surface, but by meticulously adding opaque glass along base in the blowing process.

Vincent was quickly referred to contact Wright Auction house, who specializes in glass sales. “The minute I saw the photos I had a really good feeling,” said Richard Wright, the auctioneer’s president. This past Wednesday, December 13, the vase shattered its pre-auction estimate of $30,000 to $50,000 USD, when it sold for $107,100 USD. Vincent plans to use the money to renovate her newly purchased farmhouse.
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