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Woman makes mind-blowing discovery about a $4 dollar vase that she found at a thrift store

A woman in Maryland found an old vase sitting on the shelf of a thrift store but little did she know that it was the relic of an ancient civilization.
Cover Image Source: X | @emoctezumab
Cover Image Source: X | @emoctezumab

Thrifting is not just a way to save money amidst rising costs, but it has also given rise to a new business model where people bag major brands and rare products at low prices and sell them online for a profit. Although it has become common for thrifters to come across designer clothes, limited edition products, and vintage items, finding an ancient artifact is the last thing one would expect to discover at a thrift store. A woman from Maryland, Anne Lee Dozier, was browsing through a thrift shop in the Clinton area in 2019 when she found an old vase on the clearance shelf by the checkout register of the thrift shop. At first, Dozier thought the vase couldn't be more than three decades old and bagged it for just $4, according to NPR.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | José Andrés Pacheco Cortes
Representative Image Source: Pexels | José Andrés Pacheco Cortes

She decided to buy it after developing an interest in pottery while working with indigenous communities in Mexico. “I thought it would be just a nice little thing to take home and put on the shelf and to remind me of Mexico,” Dozier told NPR. But things took a surprising turn when Dozier visited Mexico City's National Anthropology Museum and saw other Mayan vases displayed there.

She realized that the vase she had purchased bore a striking resemblance to those displayed at the museum. But Dozier wasn't sure if she had an authentic Mayan vase sitting at her home so she approached the thrift store where she purchased it from and contacted a museum official, who in turn recommended that she call the Mexican embassy. So, Dozier mailed the pictures of the vase she purchased along with the description of its dimensions to the embassy following which the National Anthropology Museum confirmed that the vase was an authentic Mayan artifact and Mexico wanted it back.


“I got an email saying, ‘Congratulations – it’s real and we would like it back,’” Dozier told the outlet. Dozier received gratitude from the Mexican embassy for safely returning the 1,200 to 1,800-year-old vase back to where it belonged. “A valuable witness of our Mayan history returns home, all thanks to the generosity of Anne Lee Dozier,” Mexico’s ambassador to the US, Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, wrote on X. “This historic jewel will be reintegrated within the collection of [Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology and History] to preserve our rich cultural heritage.”


Barragan also mentioned in the post that the vase dates back between AD 200 and AD 800. Dozier joked to WUSA that she was "thrilled to eliminate the possibility that one of her three young sons would accidentally wreck the vase at their family home."

“Giving it back feels so much better than it would if I put it for sale online and I got a bunch of money. It’s really important to recognize that some of these things, especially with such historical and cultural value to an entire country and people – you can’t really put a number on that," she added. Mexico’s cultural institute in Washington DC also marked the recovery of the vase with a ceremony. According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. had banned the import of Mayan artifacts back in 1991.

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