A rare 14th century gold coin potentially worth £3,000 has been found by chance hidden in a £60 chest of drawers.
Derbyshire mum-of-three, Amy Clapp, 37, had no idea the 650-year-old coin - or the secret drawer - existed after being left a 20th century bureau by a long-lost distant cousin.
She sent the bureau to Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers to sell after clearing it out and believing it was empty.
But three secret drawers existed in the bureau which Edward Rycroft, furniture valuer at Hansons, found when he came to value it.
The 22ct gold coin was found hidden in a secret drawer. It turned out to be rare, more than 650-years-old and highly valuable.
Mr Rycroft said: “I know bureaus like this often have tiny, secret drawers – sometimes called coin drawers - so I always check them just in case. But in 10 years of valuing furniture I have never found anything in them - until now.
“I’m delighted for the family. The coin’s worth a small fortune. I knew straight away it was gold and really special. It’s the most amazing thing I have ever found by chance. If you’ve got an old bureau at home do check for secret drawers – you never know, you may be sitting on a windfall too.”
And Mrs Clapp, a family support worker, said: “I’m delighted. I was working in London when Edward phoned me. As a family, we’ve had some bad luck in the last two years, so for something like this to happen to us is amazing.
“My daughter, Abi, 18, was recently registered as severely sight impaired. She has Bardet-Biedl syndrome, a genetic condition which effects vision as well as other parts of the body. I work for the Bardet-Biedl Syndrome UK charity and I’ll be donating some proceeds from the sale to it.”
The Raymond IV Prince of Orange Franc A Pied coin dates back to 1365. Its guide price is £1,200 to £1,800 but the experts at Hansons think it could sell for as much as £3,000. According to their coin valuer Don Collins, it’s very unusual. In more than half a century of coin valuing he has never seen one exactly like it.
Amy and husband Gary, 53, of Swadlincote, south Derbyshire, who have five other children, went along to Hansons to see the secret drawer – and the coin.
Both were amazed when Mr Rycroft pulled out a visible drawer to reveal another tiny drawer, no more than two or three inches long, tucked away behind it in a far corner of the unit. An identical secret drawer existed on the other side of the bureau.
“I would never have found that in a million years,” said Mrs Clapp. “We’re so grateful to Edward. We recently blew all our savings on a car and its engine blew up shortly after we bought it, so any windfall is very welcome.”
She is also grateful to the distant cousin who left her the unexpected gift.
“I can’t even remember meeting my great cousin but I received a letter from a solicitor before Christmas informing me that I’d been left various items of furniture. Apparently, the will was written when I was 13 years old.”
The bureau, estimate £60-£80, is due to be sold at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, on February 20, while the gold coin will go into Hansons’ March 21 Coins Auction.
To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org