A hoard of valuable gold coins worth more than half a million dollars has been found inside a piano which was given away for nothing by its previous owners.
Graham and Meg Hemmings, from Shropshire, England, donated their old instrument to a local school with no idea it was full of gold.
Its new owners, Bishop’s Castle Community College, only discovered the hidden stash after they paid a piano tuner to fix the instrument.
Inside, he found 913 gold coins that are more than a century old.
The hoard is a mixture of old British sovereign and half-sovereign pieces, and between them contain more than 13lbs of gold.
Under UK law, unexpected valuable finds can be taken into the custody of the legal system, and officially declared “treasure” if they are significant enough.
This was the case with the gold coin hoard, with the result that museums will be able to bid for the items, and the people who found them will be paid their market rate.
In this case, the value of the find was declared to be £500,000 ($640,000) – and will be divided evenly between the college and the piano tuner.
Since the Hemmings’ gave the piano away, they have no right to any of the reward – and, remarkably, don’t seem to mind.
Mr Hemmings, 72, said: “We’re very glad that the college will benefit. We knew the piano needed tuning when we moved it to Bishop’s Castle but it played well.”