It was a busy, noisy moment at a thrift store and donation site in Tacoma, Washington, when an anonymous donor left, mixed among other used items, a somewhat deteriorated engraving that turned out to be an original Salvador Dali.

"We found it among other donated second-hand items," Dylan Lippert, the head of electronic sales at the Tacoma store, told Efe.

Funds from the sale of the work by the store, part of the Goodwill social enterprise chain, will be used to provide jobs for some 10 disabled persons.

"We don't know why it was donated among other second-hand items and not by itself," Lippert said.

When workers at the store first caught sight of the work they commented how "ugly" it was. "What's this? Who would want it?" they said.

But the store manager and the director of art donations had their suspicions - they were familiar with the work of the Catalan painter and were " very impressed and excited by the potential value of the piece, if it should be confirmed," Lippert said. EFE