Northamptonshire woman stumbles across £35,000 worth of gold coins...behind her sofa

A Towcester woman was given the shock of a lifetime when she found a haul of gold coins in a suitcase worth 35,000.
A Towcester woman was given the shock of a lifetime when she found a haul of gold coins in a suitcase worth 35,000.

An auctioneer was stunned when he carried out a routine house clearance in Northamptonshire and found a hoard of gold and silver worth over £35,000 stashed in a SUITCASE.

Jonathan Humbert was told the elderly woman who inherited the house from a dead relative had "a few gold coins" in a holdall kept behind the sofa.

But when he opened the suitcase, which weighed more than 40kg (88lbs), he discovered it was filled with treasures.

The woman who inherited the house and its contents said a "close relative" invested in gold and silver her entire adult life and left them to her when she passed away.

But the stash, which was amassed over a decade ago in Towcester, has since quadrupled in value.

There were over one hundred 22-carat gold sovereigns, which cost £200 each, and 17 solid silver bars weighing 1kg (2lbs) that are each worth £450.

Mr Humbert found several kilos of coins - including 22-carat gold Krugerrands that fetch up to £1,200 per ounce - as well as solid silver, half-silver and 22-carat gold British coins.

It took staff at JP Humbert Auctioneers an entire day to sort out the trove on January 25 before it went for auction on Tuesday, (January 31).

Mr Humbert, director of the auction house in Whittlebury, Northants, said: "When I received the call, the woman said she had some ceramics and furniture that needed clearing out.

"Those are two words that auctioneers usually dread, but she mentioned a few gold coins too. That pricked my ears and I went out.

"After going through all of the other items, she then pointed to a suitcase behind the sofa where she said the gold was kept.

"I went to lift it and almost pulled my arm out of my shoulder, it must have weighed well over 40kg.

"After dragging it across the floor I couldn't believe what was inside.

"There were ingots of silver worth £450 each and hundreds of gold sovereign and full silver coins."

The woman, who did not want to be named, said a close relative used to invest in gold and silver but she had no idea how much they were worth.

Mr Humbert said: "I explained it was something of a security risk having that much gold and silver stashed in a suitcase.

"The relative amassed them over a period of 20 to 30 years, but bought them before the tech boom drove the price up.

"They were not flush with cash but when they had a bit of money spare, they would invest.

"A hundred gold sovereigns would have been worth about £60 when she got them, but they were going for £200 under the hammer.

"Brexit and Donald Trump have pushed the price back up as investors are looking for something stable in these uncertain times.

"People were buying from Iceland, New Zealand and South Africa - it was a great success."

Silver coins from before 1922 were 100 percent silver, and from 1922 until 1946 they were half silver and half copper nickel.

All of the woman's collection were from the 20th century, including 22-carat gold Krugerrand coins - South African currency.

Every piece was sold separately with individual bids ranging from £190 to £480.

All the Elizabeth II sovereigns, dating from 1958 to 1967, depict St George slaying a dragon on the reverse side and each 8g (0.3oz) coin was valued at more than £200.

The 17 solid silver bars are engraved by the Swiss bullion makers Metalor.

Mr Humbert added: "She had no idea how much these were worth. We haven't even sold them all, we are having another auction in a month."