By CoinWeek News Staff ….
Earlier this year, the British public–along with the rest of the world–was invited to help solve the mystery of a 913-piece gold coin hoard hidden inside a vintage piano donated to a local community college in 2015.
The 91.7% pure gold coins, 633 sovereigns and 280 half sovereigns dating from 1847 to 1915, were carefully stacked under the keyboard in hand-stitched cloth pouches. The previous owners of the Broadwood and Sons piano were unaware of the bounty inside for the entire 33 years it was in their possession. A piano tuner hired by the college to fix the newly acquired instrument made the surprising discovery. The six kilograms worth of gold coins were moved to the school’s safe and held there while the Shrewsbury Coroner’s Court determined whether the hoard qualified as treasure under the highly-successful 1996 Treasure Act, which many in the coin collecting and metal detecting communities see as a sensible compromise with government authorities.
On Thursday, April 20, the coroner announced that it did. So far, no one has come forward with a claim on the gold, meaning that the discoverer and the community college would receive a percentage of the proceeds of any future sale of the coins. Some have suggested that the hoard of sovereigns represents the ill-gotten gains of a bank robbery.
According to the Treasure Act, museums and cultural institutions are given the first opportunity to purchase the find, either whole or in part. The piano itself will be returned to the school, in tune.