British Museum to Solve Mystery of Golden Treasure Found in Piano

The golden treasure is known as the "piano hoard."

A Broadwood and Sons Hammerflügel Piano at the Musikinstrumentenmuseum Berlin. Photo by Museumsinsulaner, public domain.
A Broadwood and Sons Hammerflügel Piano at the Musikinstrumentenmuseum Berlin. Photo by Museumsinsulaner, public domain.

A hoard of golden treasure has been found inside a vintage piano in England, and the British Museum is now heading a search for the origins of the mysterious cache, known as the “piano hoard.”

Coroners in Shropshire, a county in West Midlands near Birmingham, are asking anyone with information of who originally hid the golden items to come forward.

They could be coins, jewelry, or other gold objects. The museum and owners—the police are not involved—are keeping the details under wraps to avoid false claims, but the Telegraph speculates that the items are coins pre-dating the year 1900.

A statement from the British Museum reads, “The finds are highly unusual in nature being substantially made of gold and appear to have been deliberately hidden within the last 110 years.”

When it comes to the provenance of the piano itself, a little bit more information is known. It was made by London’s Broadwood & Sons in 1906, and was first bought by a music shop in Essex, who sold it to private owners.

It is unknown who owned or played it from 1906 and 1983, but when the owner died, it was sold at the estate sale. Its current owners took the piano for a tuning last month, when the gold stash was finally found.

Experts guess that a previous owner of the piano filled it with the material wealth, and failed to tell anyone about it.

Meanwhile, a search is underway, led by the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, an effort to catalogue objects found unintentionally in England. It employs 37 finds liaison officers across the country, including Peter Reavill, the Shropshire officer who has been assigned to the case of piano gold.

Reavill says he hopes to find out who the original owner of the items was, and return them to the family.

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