No one gave the etching titled "Reflection" much thought when it first arrived at the center in Federal Way, but it is now on the non-profit's online auction site and had received bids topping $10,000 as of Friday.
"Across the board they thought it was ugly," Shea Munroe, who sorts the art and collectibles donated at the center, told CNN.
Surrealism may be an acquired taste, but Munroe said her co-workers made comments like: "What is that? And why would anybody want that?"
Luckily for the art world and Goodwill, a manager recognized Dali's trademark melting pocket watch.
"The manager knew who he was right away, and we were both really excited," Munroe said.
The etching had a letter of authenticity from a California art dealer taped to the back and had been carefully framed and wrapped.
The donor's identity remained a mystery. Goodwill said Federal Way is a busy drop-off center and no one remembers seeing the item brought in.
Goodwill held on to the Dali for more than a week before putting it up for auction, just in case it had been donated accidentally.