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PIANO GOLD COIN HOARD DISPLAYED

The E-Sylum (4/23/2017)


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Remember that British piano tuner who found an old hoard of gold coins stashed inside? He'll get to keep a share of the treasure. Here's an article from The Telegraph. -Editor

Piano gold coin hoard It is the biggest gold coin hoard ever discovered in Britain - £500,000 worth of 19th century sovereigns found concealed inside an antiquated school piano.

For the tuner who chanced upon it during a routine inspection at a local school, it is a life-changing find that could see him pocket tens of thousands of pounds as a reward.

Such is the scale of the bounty, that 50 potential claimants stepped forward desperate to lay claim to its riches, only for their stories to dismissed by experts.

But for the couple who, having failed to discover the treasure inside, donated the instrument after owning it for 32 years, a cruel twist of fate now means they will not receive a penny.

However, despite the unfortunate turn of events, former owners Megan and Graham Hemmings said they were just happy to see the proceeds go to a “good cause”.

Unconvinced by the numerous stories put forward by sources eager to claim the gold for themselves, experts told coroner John Ellery that they had been unable to trace the whereabouts of the hoard’s genuine owners.

"I have been amazed at the stories that people have shared about their families - we are a nation which loves history and adores mysteries - and this is one that rivals the best detective fiction out there,” said Peter Reavill, the British Museum finds liaison officer who led the investigation.

"But nothing has been put forward to make me believe that we've found the person who is an heir to the person who stashed these coins away.”

He added that the true origin of the coins remain steeped in mystery, leaving Mr Ellery with no choice but to declare the one-tonne collection as treasure.

Under the provisions of the Treasure Act 1996, only the finder of a treasure hoard and the existing owner of the property are entitled to share the proceeds, the majority of which will be returned to the Crown.

Gold coin hoard piano with finder Martin Backhouse
Finder Martin Backhouse with the hoard piano

It means that a share of the fortune will be awarded to Martin Backhouse, 61, the tuner who discovered them, and the piano’s current owners, Bishop’s Castle Community College, Shropshire.

But for Mr and Mrs Hemmings, who purchased the piano and its hidden contents in 1983 to teach their four children music, the saddest part of the tale is not knowing where or when it all began.

"The sadness is that it's not a complete story,” said Mrs Hemmings, now a retired nursery teacher. “[But] I am delighted for that the college will benefit from the find. It's an incomplete story, but it's still an exciting one."

To read the complete article, see:

Proceeds from Britain's largest ever hoard of gold coins to be shared with piano tuner who found them (www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/20/proceeds-britains-largest-ever-hoard-gold-coins-shared-piano/)

The CoinWeek site hosts a British Museum video of the display. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:

British Museum: Exclusive Video of Piano Gold Coin Hoard (www.coinweek.com/editors-choice/british-museum-exclusive-video-of-piano-gold-coin-hoard/)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

PIANO TUNER FINDS GOLD COIN STASH (www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n03a21.html)

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