Town museum makes bid to acquire hoard of rare coins hidden in piano


The hoard of coins. Picture: PETER REAVILL/THE TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM - Credit: Archant

Saffron Walden Museum is raising funds to acquire part of a hoard of gold coins that was hidden in a piano.

In 2017, hundreds of coins dated between 1874 and 1915 were found inside a piano in Shropshire and investigations showed that the coins were hidden by a Saffron Walden resident in the early 20th century.

The hoard of 913 gold sovereigns and half-sovereigns has been declared treasure and made available to the British Museum and Saffron Walden Museum for acquisition.

Saffron Walden Museum needs to raise £3,000 to bring home a representative sample of the coins, as well as the packaging and the piano.

The coins were found last year inside a Broadwood upright piano which had been donated to a college in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, for use by the students. When the college employed a piano tuner to tune the piano, he uncovered the hoard of coins hidden inside.

Some of the cardboard used for the pouches was taken from cereal boxes and the branding on these cereal boxes reveals that the coins were hidden sometime between 1926 and 1946, which coincides with the Great Depression.

The piano has a plaque on it, which reads ‘Beavan & Mothersole, 27 West Road, Saffron Walden’ and investigations revealed that Beavan and Mothersole were piano tuners and music professors in Saffron Walden. They ordered the piano from Broadwood in 1906, paying cash, and it was delivered to them in Saffron Walden via Great Eastern Railways on November 6, 1906.

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In 1983, the piano was bought by a Saffron Walden family for their children to learn to play. It remained with them until they donated it to the college last year.

The museum hopes that the coins and the piano can be displayed and used for education sessions with local schoolchildren.

Leah Mellors, collections officer at the museum, said: “We are very keen to bring the piano hoard home to Saffron Walden and to preserve it for the benefit of our local community. But we can’t do that without the support of local people.”

So far, thanks to the generosity of local individuals and the Saffron Walden Round Table, the museum has raised £900.

If you would like to support their campaign, you can send a donation to the museum or donate via the museum’s crowdfunding page at