When Martin Backhouse started tuning the piano he knew something was wrong. From "the first octave," he could tell something inside the instrument was affecting the sound, but he never expected what he would find.
The piano had been donated to England's Castle Community College by a local couple, but they had no idea what was hiding inside: 900 solid gold coins worth $640,000.
It's not the first time treasure has been discovered hiding in plain sight, but the value of the coins sets this stash apart from other antiques.
The discovery has brought a decades-old mystery to light, but also started a debate about who should keep the treasure.
In the 1980s, Meg and Graham Hemmings bought a used piano from their friends. They had a house full of young children, and the instrument was used - and tuned - often for the next 20 years.
When it was time for the couple to downsize, they donated the piano to a local community college. The piano still worked with the coins inside, so no one realized they were there.
That is, until Backhouse realized something was "off" with the sound. Because of a British law, Backhouse and the college will get a cut of the treasure's sale, but the Hemmings won't.
Click the next page to learn the mystery behind these coins!
While most people would be upset to learn they were cut out of a $640,000 payday on a technicality, the Hemmings are actually taking the news very well.
The only thing that bothers them is the mystery surrounding this incredible find.
"The sadness is, it's not a complete story," Meg Hemmings told the Daily Mail, "they've looked and searched for the people and they unfortunately haven't come forward."
The stash was the largest collection of the vintage sovereign coins ever discovered, weighing more than 13 pounds.
Researchers from the British Museum say the coins may have been hidden during the first World War, because there are lots of coins from that period in the collection, but there's no way to know for sure and very few other clues.
Because of the value of the find, it has been claimed by the British government. The British Museum will try to sell the coins, dividing the price between the school and Backhouse. If they can't find a buyer, the coins will be returned to the college.
But the Hemmings and the museum aren't the only ones trying to solve the mystery. So far 40 people have claimed the gold is theirs, but the museum says they haven't heard any proof yet.
Remember to check your antiques thoroughly folks, you never know what treasures might be in your home!
[H/T: the Daily Mail]
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