How would you like to find out that you just gave away over a half million dollars? Well that is exactly what happened to a couple who decided to donate their old piano to a local college. When Graham and Meg Hemmings, donated their old instrument to a local school they had no idea it contained a virtual treasure trove of gold coins.
The hoard of gold coins is estimated to be worth well more than half a million dollars and under the law, Mr. and Mrs. Hemmings will not see a penny of the proceeds. The coins were discovered when the school decided to call in a piano tuner to do some minor repairs and tune the piano so it could be put to use. A spokesperson for the new owners, Bishop’s Castle Community College, said until the piano tuner started his work they had no idea there was anything in the instrument.
But inside, the old piano, the tuner found a horde of gold coins more than a century old, nine hundred and thirteen of them in fact. The school spokesperson said the hoard is a mixture of old British sovereign and half-sovereign pieces, and between them contain more than 13lbs of gold.
All in all, not a bad haul for the school, but bad news for the Hemmings. You see, 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 find was. As a result, officials said the gold coin hoard, will be put up for action and museums will be able to bid for the items. The proceeds of the auction will then kept by the government, and the people who found them will be paid their market rate.
Which in this case is estimated to be about $640,000 dollars. That money will then be split equally between the school, and the piano tuner that found the horde. Of course, they will both have to pay taxes back to the government on the reward they received. As for the Hemmings, they come up short in the deal.
Because they gave the piano away, the law says they have no claim to any of the find. Now while you and I might be a little ticked off about that, it seems they don’t seem to mind. In fact, 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.”