Hunt is on for the potential Saffron Walden owner of a gold treasure hoard

PUBLISHED: 16:46 12 January 2017 | UPDATED: 17:14 12 January 2017

Photo credit: British Museum/PA Wire

Photo credit: British Museum/PA Wire

A gold hoard discovered in a piano might belong to a Saffron Walden person, if they can be found soon.

The search is on for the owner of the potential treasure after it was found when the new owners of a piano, in South West Shropshire, decided to tune the instrument.

Its recent history shows it was made by London’s Broadwood and Sons, before being sold to a music company in Saffron Walden, and the bought by a local family in 1983.

The items were probably hidden within the last 100 or so years.

An inquest opened at Shrewsbury Coroner’s Court last week to decide whether the discovery can be technically classed as treasure, and the hoard is being kept in a secret location under lock and key.

For pieces under 300-years-old to qualify, it must be mostly gold or silver, deliberately hidden, and the present heirs must be a mystery.

If the people who put the gold into the piano resurface they have a claim to it - otherwise it belongs to the crown.

Peter Reavill, of the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, said: “We can’t say what it is exactly because we are trying to track down the potential true owners.

“The current owners did not know what to do but they came to the museum and they laid it all out on the table.

“They laid this stuff out and I was like ‘whoa’, I’m an archaeologist and I’m used to dealing with treasure but I’m more used to medieval broaches.

“I have never seen anything like that, it’s a stunning assemblage of material.”

Ian Richardson, treasure registrar at the British Museum, said: “The artefacts might be older but they were hidden in the last 100 years.

“We know that because of the age of the piano.

“Somebody put them in there and either died and didn’t tell anyone or something else happened. We don’t know.”

The inquest will resume on March 16.

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