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Cross ‘Piano’ Off Your List of Best Places to Store Gold

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File this story under the category of “worst places to store your gold.” Last year, a piano tuner in Shropshire, England, found 13 pounds of gold stashed inside a piano. This week, officials gave up trying to find the original owner.

Bishops Castle Community College sent the piano over to Martin Backhouse for maintenance and tuning last year. When he opened it up, he spotted some odd pouches stacked neatly under the keyboard. When he slit open the stitching on one of the pouches, he found gold coins. All told, there were 913 gold sovereigns and half-sovereigns minted in the 19th and early 20th centuries stuffed inside the piano.

Blackhouse’s recollection of the moment he found the gold seems rather understated. He told the AP he saw the coins and thought, “Ooh, it looks like there’s rather a lot of gold in this.”

The coins have not been formally valued. Peter Reavill of the British Museum told the AP the trove is worth a “potentially life-changing” amount.

So, who put the coins inside the piano?

Nobody knows.

Graham and Meg Hemmings owned the piano for 33 years before donating it to the college. They had no idea they were sitting on a fortune. Efforts to locate the gold’s owner proved fruitless. Coroner John Ellery investigated the coins, searched for the owner, and has now declared it treasure. On Thursday he told the AP that despite a thorough investigation and a public appeal for information, “we simply do not know” who concealed the coins.

Under British law, the finder and owner of “treasure” get to split the proceeds, so the school and Blackhouse will enjoy the windfall.

Storing precious metals is always a tricky business. Needless to say, inside a piano probably isn’t the best spot. It’s slightly better than burying gold in your back yard, but not much. If you want to keep you precious metals at home, we recommend a high-quality safe. But for added security, and for large amounts of gold and silver, off-site vault storage may provide better protection for your investment. SchiffGold has relationships with the world’s finest professional storage services. These secure vault facilities are strategically located around the world and have excellent reputations.

 

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