Gold coin hidden in bureau could sell for thousands

Hansons Edward Rycroft with the gold coinA rare 14th-century French gold coin found in a secret drawer of a bureau could be worth thousands, according to a Derbyshire auction house.

The bureau was brought to Hansons Auctioneers to be sold, with the consignee, Derbyshire mother-of-three Amy Clapp, 37, having no idea that it had a secret drawer or the coin inside. The drawer was one of three spotted by eagle-eyed furniture valuer at the auctioneers, Edward Rycroft.

Edward 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.”

Much to his amazement, he discovered a 22ct gold coin hidden in a secret drawer. It turned out to be rare, more than 650 years old and highly valuable.

The Raymond IV Prince of Orange Franc A Pied coin dates back to 1365. Its guide price is £1,200-£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.

Mrs Clapp, a family support worker who lives near Swadlincote in South Derbyshire, 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.”

Hansons Edward Rycroft with Amy Clapp

Amy and husband Gary, 53, 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.”

Mr Rycroft, said: “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.”

The bureau, estimate £60-£80, is due to be sold at Hansons on February 20, while the coin will go into the auctioneer’s coins auction on March 21.

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