Oh Those Crazy Brits, They Find Gold In The Strangest Places…
Photo courtes of British Museum
(Kitco News) - First, two British tank restorers find five solid gold bars in the gas tank of a Russian T54/69 tank. Now, in the same week, it was announced that a piano tuner has found what is believed to be the largest hoard of gold sovereigns in an old piano.
Making its way through the media-sphere is news that a piano tuner in Shropshire, a county in the middle of England, found 913 gold coins ranging from 1847 to 1915. According to reports, the coins were stitched into seven cloth packets and hidden under the keys of the piano.
"The keys were a bit stiff and a bit sluggish, so I took the keys out,” said Martin Backhouse, the man who found the coins, in an interview with the BBC. “As soon as I started lifting out the keys, I thought, uh-uh, what's this underneath the keyboard? I'd never come across anything like this in my whole life".
The loot was actually found around Christmas but it was only this week that a Shrewsbury court ruled the discovery officially as treasure and therefore owned by the crown. However, the tuner and Bishops Castle Community College -- the actual owner of the piano -- will split a reward based on the value of the treasure.
During the inquest, 50 people came forward claiming to be the owners of the gold; however, the court ruled that the true owner remained unknown.
In an interesting twist, for more than 22 years, the piano was owned by Graham and Meg Hemmings, who donated the piano to the college last summer after moving to the county.
So far, the value of the historic coins has not been set. Peter Reavill, the British Museum's finds liaison officer for the region, said it could be worth “hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
"It's been an amazing case to deal with but we have drawn a blank in terms of finding the original owner. We have meticulously gone through all the claims but there is a bar for the evidence and at the moment nobody has reached close to that bar,” he told the BBC.
The moral of these two stories? Meticulously go through things before you throw them out.