Fans of artist Salvador Dali are engaged in a big bidding war over one of his pieces at a most unusual place, Goodwill.
The valuable work simply showed up recently at the Federal Way store when someone anonymously dropped it off without saying anything.
“There’s really nothing special about the donation, which really has us shocked,” said Dillon Lippert, e-sales manager at Tacoma Goodwill. “It wasn’t donated with a lot of fanfare.”
The clerk thought it might be something special and showed it to the manager, who agreed and passed it along to Lippert. It turned out to be an original, hand signed etching.
The etching, called “Reflection”, is part of Dali’s “Cycles of Life Suite.” It came with a certificate of authenticity and the original gallery documentation.
The piece is now up for auction at the Tacoma Goodwill website, which uses the proceeds to fund its jobs programs. As of Thursday morning, over 31 bidders had driven the price to $6,905.
Dali expert Robert Varner, owner of the Doubletake Gallery in Minnesota, told KIRO Radio although he hasn’t seen it in person, the piece is more than likely legitimate.
“Based on the imagery matching and the size matching and the edition number seems to be legitimate, I don’t have any reason to believe it isn’t,” he said.
Varner said while the anonymous donor might have known the value, he commonly sees expensive artwork donated to thrift stores or sold at garage sales for virtually nothing because people don’t realize what they have.
“I had a woman in my gallery about a week ago who brought in an old Leroy Neiman oil on board that she had bought five years ago at a garage sale for, I think it was $5.”
The Dali donation is rare but not unprecedented. Lippert said in the last year the organization has received several expensive items, including a Rolex watch that sold for $900 and a diamond ring that fetched $12,000.
Varner said he has received a number of calls from people asking about the Goodwill Dali. He said he sold a similar one for $650, but wouldn’t want to speculate on a value without seeing it in person. He said the “book value” for the piece is upwards of $10,000.
The auction closes Monday night.
“You know, it’s going to be a nice Christmas present for us,” Lippert said. “More importantly for the people we serve in our community.”