They could have lay hidden for more than 100 years and now a coroner is seeking the original owners of an incredible horde of gold coins discovered inside a piano.
John Ellery, Shropshire's Coroner, used an inquest held yesterday to make a plea for information about the South Shropshire find, which was revealed by chance when a piano tuner was asked to look at the instrument.
The hoard is formed of gold sovereigns and half sovereigns dating from the reigns of Victoria, Edward VII and George V.
The oldest coin within the group was made in 1847 and the youngest in 1915.
It has not been confirmed how many coins have been found but it is understood they are worth a "life changing" amount of money.
Any potential claimants now have only a month to submit their claim.
Peter Reavill, finds liaison offficer for Shropshire, said: "The oldest coin within the group was made in 1847 and the youngest in 1915. This suggests that the coins were deliberately hidden after this date.
"The coroner also heard that the history of the piano had been securely traced after 1983. He is still seeking information about the ownership of the piano between 1906 and 1983. We know that the piano was originally sold to Messrs Beavan and Mothersole of Saffron Walden, Essex in 1906 and was acquired through private sale again in Saffron Walden in 1983."
Mr Reavill said the find was a one-off.
He said: "This is unique in its own right as we do not often get very recent hoards brought in but the really interesting thing with this is we are talking about something where it is only two or three generations ago that someone hid these coins."
The finds officer speculated that the coins could have been hidden as a result of the difficulties faced by society during the First World War.
He said: "It is right in the middle of the First World War, things are not going as well as you want, is the money safer in the bank or at home under lock and key? So I think that is the background for these coins, the pressures of the time coming to the fore."
Mr Reavill said any potential owner now had limited time to stake their claim.
He said: "The purpose of the inquest hearing was the coroner giving fair warning that if you have a claim then come forward because he will be making a decision at the next inquest."
The inquest will resume and conclude on April 20.
Anyone with information about the previous owners of the piano, their heirs or successors, or the extent of the hoard, should provide this in writing to Mr Ellery at the Coroner's Office for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin at the Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6ND.
The Coroner will require evidence about the extent of the find - what it comprises, how, when, where and why the find was concealed, and evidence upon which they can be sure of the ownership by any potential claimant.Subscribe to our Newsletter