Did this gold-stuffed piano once belong to you?

Emma Woollacott
The piano in which the coins were found.
The piano in which the coins were found.

A coroner is appealing for information to help track down the owner of a stash of gold goins found inside an old piano.

The gold sovereigns and half sovereigns were found inside a 1906 piano in southwest Shropshire late last year when it was taken to be tuned. The owners had had no idea they were there.

The coins date from the reigns of Victoria, Edward VII and George V, with the oldest having been minted in 1847 and the newest in 1915 - suggesting that the coins were deliberately hidden after this date.

The history of the piano, though, has only been traced back as far as 1983.

"We know that the piano was originally sold to Messrs Beavan and Mothersole of Saffron Walden, Essex in 1906 and was acquired through private sale again in Saffron Walden in 1983," says Shropshire's finds liaison office.

This means that the secret to the hoard probably lies in the Saffron Walden area.

£76m pearl stashed under bed for ten years

And if the true owners of the coins can be found, they'll be in for a substantial windfall, with the value described as a 'life-changing sum of money'.

If they can't be traced, the find will be declared treasure, and will be awarded to the owners of the piano.

Anybody wishing to make a claim should contact senior coroner John Ellery at the Coroner's Office for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, the Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6ND.

They'll be expected to be able to describe exactly what the find consists of, and explain how, when, where and why it was hidden. Already, according to the coroner's office, some people have come forward with information - but anyone wanting to make a claim has until April 20 to do so.

Inherited house was stuffed with gold

"There is no penalty for mistaken claims made in good faith but any false claims may be reported to the police for consideration of any offences disclosed," the investigators say.

The coins are currently being held at a Shropshire museum - and could end up staying there. Under the Treasure Act, national or local museums have the right to acquire treasure finds for public benefit, paying a reward equivalent to their full value.

Pensioner finds suitcase of gold and silver behind the sofa

Just last month, a stash of gold sovereigns and silver coins was discovered behind a sofa in a house that an elderly woman had just inherited. Here, the ownership is clear, and the coins are now being sold in a series of auctions.

And in a similar incident late last year, a French man discovered gold coins and ingots hidden all over a house he'd inherited.