NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Goodwill worker who spotted a photograph of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has helped the charity make $23,001 in an online auction.
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The tintype photograph was in a bin, about to be shipped out to an outlet store, when a worker grabbed it and sent it to the charity's local online department. The item was put up for auction. Bidding started at $4 and closed Wednesday night.
"It would have gone to our outlet store where everything is sold by the pound," Goodwill spokeswoman Suzanne Kay-Pittman said Thursday. She estimated the tintype would have fetched a dollar and change based on its weight.
The sale was a record for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. The previous record was an early 1900s watercolor that sold for $7,500 in 2009 to a museum in New Orleans, The Tennessean reported.
The newspaper said that the tintype had some intriguing aspects: It wasn't an original photograph but a tintype made of another picture, and it was a view of Lee that collectors had not seen.
Kay-Pittman said Thursday that the successful bidder lives in Virginia but officials didn't immediately know his name.
"We're doing a happy dance," she said. "We're beyond thrilled."
Msnbc.com staff contributed to this report from The Associated Press.