A British inquest is being held to determine the rightful owners of a stash of gold coins found inside an antique piano during restoration efforts.
British officials are trying to trace the owner of a trove of gold coins worth a “life-changing” amount of money found stashed inside a piano.
A coroner investigating the find on Thursday urged anyone with information to come forward.
When the piano’s owners took it to be tuned last year in Shropshire, central England, it was found to contain a hoard of gold sovereigns minted between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.
Investigators have determined that the piano was built in London in 1906 and sold to a pair of piano teachers in Saffron Walden, eastern England. They are seeking information on its ownership before 1983.
Anyone wanting to make a claim has until April 20, when coroner John Ellery will conclude his inquest.
If the gold’s owner or heirs cannot be traced, it will be declared treasure, and the piano’s current owners will reap the reward.
Officials have not disclosed how much the coins are worth. Peter Reavill, who assesses finds for the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, said “it’s a hoard of objects which is potentially life-changing for somebody to receive.”
“It’s not the sort of money you would tuck away and forget,” he said. “It is a lifetime of savings and it’s beyond most people.”
The Shrewsbury Coroner’s Court heard a repair worker hired by the instrument’s new owners discovered someone had previously stashed an undisclosed number of gold coins inside the upright piano — coins that date between 1847 and 1915.
Senior coroner John Ellery said the piano was made by Broadwood & Sons in London and originally sold in 1906 to a pair of Saffron Walden, Essex, music teachers with the surnames of Beavan and Mothersole. He said the instrument’s whereabouts and ownership are unknown between the original purchase in 1906 and when it was purchased in the same area by a family in 1983.
The hoard was initially brought to the attention of Peter Reavill, who serves as finds liaison officer for the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme at Shropshire Museums.
“Our gut instinct is that the piano wasn’t moved much between those two dates, and it wasn’t moved from Saffron Walden and the district it’s in,” the Cambridge News quoted Reavill as saying.
The inquest is scheduled to resume in April.
If you know something about the piano or want to make a claim, contact the Shropshire Coroner’s Service by emailing coroner@