The Mystery of the Gold Hoard Hidden Inside a Piano
The hunt is on to discover the rightful owners of a hoard of gold coins discovered hidden inside a piano in the U.K.
Although the estimated value of the discovery has not been released, it has been described as a "life-changing sum of money".
The mystery began in late 2016, when the current owners of the piano discovered a hoard of gold inside it and handed it in to a local museum in Shropshire.
Peter Reavill, of the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme, was called to investigate the discovery and was amazed at what he found:
"The current owners... came to the museum and laid it all out on the table. I was like, 'whoa'. I'm an archaeologist and I'm used to dealing with treasure but I'm more used to medieval brooches. I have never seen anything like that."
At the time, the exact nature of the discovery was not reported – but the hoard has been revealed as a large cache of gold sovereigns and half sovereigns, dating from the reigns of Victoria, Edward VII and George V.
The earliest coin within the group was minted in 1847 and the latest in 1915, meaning they were hidden sometime after that date.
(Images: Portable Antiquities Scheme)
The piano is a simple upright model originally made by British company Broadwood & Sons of London at the turn of the century.
Research has uncovered that the piano was acquired new in 1906 by Messrs. Beavan & Mothersole, two gentleman music teachers and piano tuners.
The recent history of the piano has been traced back to 1983, leaving a 68-year gap during which time someone deliberately stashed the collection of coins inside for safe keeping.
To officially qualify as "treasure", a court must prove that the coins were hidden with the intent to be recovered at a later date.
If no one comes forward with a genuine claim to the coins, they will then become the property of the Crown.
Since the story broke in January 2017, the coroner overseeing the case has received dozens of tip-offs and potential claims from members of the public.
However, the identity of the original owner of the coins, and why they hid them inside the old piano in the first place, remains a mystery.