Old Piano Yields Gold Treasure in Shropshire

January 13th, 2017 by

People are finding rare or historic antiques like furniture, art, and precious metals in old family homes and estate sales on a somewhat regular basis. If this wasn’t the case, popular television programs like Pawn Stars and Antiques Roadshow would not be on the air.

Yet one family in Shropshire, England never expected they would find gold hidden in a century-old piano that had been neglected for decades!

A Musical Instrument Worth Cherishing

An inquest will determine whether or not the cache of gold coins found in the Shropshire piano will be considered treasure. The inquest is being delayed until March in order to give time for potential claimants to to arise. Even the family that owns the piano, which they have since 1983, is unsure about the origins of the treasure. They discovered the coins around Christmas while having the piano tuned and restored.

Without the aid of sophisticated equipment, or even a reason to look, only dumb luck or an event like the restoration of the piano would have helped them discover the gold. Experts are still not sure—or are not divulging—what time period the gold coins are from, nor when (or why) exactly the coins were stashed there.

Though the timing and provenance of this hoard remains a mystery, more information should be forthcoming once the grace period for claims ends. (The piano itself traces back at least 110 years to 1906.) In order to ensure that claims are authentic, the British Museum and local Shrewsbury coroner’s office aren’t revealing what kind of coins are in the hoard.

“Although we know what these objects are, we are going to withhold that information,” Peter Reavill, representing the Portable Antiquities Scheme of the British Museum, told the BBC. “We want the owner or his or her successors to be found.” He also offered that the mysterious find was unlike anything he had ever seen.


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