Nov. 16, 2012 at 9:02 AM ET
Most of us just drop off our unwanted clothes, books and other household items at the local Goodwill and walk off with a tax receipt. But some anonymous Washington state resident did a little more than that -- he or she walked in to a Tacoma store and dropped off a rare Salvador Dali etching ... and left, according to The Seattle Times.
Fortunately, the good folks at Goodwill recognized they had something valuable on hand, and put the etching -- called "Reflection," from Dali's "Cycles of Life Suite," up for auction until Nov. 19 on the store's website. At the time of this post, it's going for less than $10,000 -- not chump change, but not exactly out of the range of many aspiring art collectors.
"Any time we get an art piece with a signature or a number, we set it aside," Dylan Lippert, e-sales manager at Tacoma Goodwill told the Times. "It just showed up on our donation floor. It was kind of a surprise."
Still, it's not the first time a big-ticket item appeared in a Washington-area Goodwill store; items from a Rolex watch to a sterling silver flatware set have brought in hundreds or thousands of dollars. According to the article, the Tacoma ShopGoodwill.com site earned $4.5 million in its 2012 fiscal year -- the third-highest in the nation.
An expert the Times spoke to hadn't personally verified the item, but said it is likely the real deal. "Ones that are faked usually have another designation (that is, signature and sequence number)," said Robert Varner, owner of the Doubletake Gallery in Minnesota, who added that the size of the image lends credence to its authenticity.
"Dali is a master," said Varner, so items by him usually sell well.