Story highlights

The 55 artifacts were appraised at $11,000, a spokesman for Goodwill says

They were donated anonymously by someone who dropped off two large containers

One item sold for $2,601

Goodwill says money is used for job-training programs

CNN —  

Thank you for shopping at Goodwill, your total is $23,472.

That is a line most thrifty shoppers will never hear. Maybe $23.47, but certainly not 23 grand.

While most think of Goodwill as a great place to buy really cheap shirts or gently used shoes, maybe even some furniture, the charity has an online auction site called

That’s where the really high-dollar donations go to be sold. Like the collection of 55 African artifacts that sold recently for a Goodwill online record of $23,472.

“The African collection will provide significant revenue for job training in the region,” said Terry Hayes, president of the Tacoma (Washington) Goodwill, in a written statement.

An anonymous donor dropped off the artifacts at a center in Port Townsend, Washington, in October in two huge containers filled with the items and packing straw.

The pieces came from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Mali, Mozambique and Tanzania. They were sold as 54 lots, with a headdress mask from Cameroon drawing the highest bid of $2,601. The auction began November 19 and ran through Sunday.

The pieces were evaluated by Tacoma Goodwill’s in-house appraiser Jazlan Grigbsy. She valued the collection at $11,000, said George White, a spokesman for Tacoma Goodwill.

He said he thinks more people have learned about the auction site through media coverage and an increased number of bidders helped yield the record amount.

White explained most people don’t know about Goodwill’s tiered approach to retail, which has the online site at the top and the familiar outlet stores at the bottom. In between are specialty boutiques for high-end apparel and accessories or home decor, and regular retail stores.

He said the money goes mostly to fund more than 30 different job-training programs.

Abour 140 Goodwill agencies contribute items to the online store, which has more than 61,000 items in 350 categories that include art, electronics, jewelry and transportation.

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