PARIS – A Frenchman who inherited a large house from a relative has found an astonishing 100kg (220lb) haul of gold hidden under the furniture.
The unnamed heir discovered the glittering hoard in a variety of inventive locations, including under piles of linen and in the bathroom.
“There were 5,000 gold pieces, two bars of 12kg and 37 ingots of 1kg,” auctioneer Nicolas Fierfort told AFP.
The treasure is worth an estimated €3.5m ($3.7m).
Fierfort said he had visited the house in Evreux, Normandy, to value furniture the new owner was selling.
He said he totally overlooked the gold, which was “extremely well hidden”.
The coins and gold bars only came to light when the house’s new owner started moving things around.
First, he found a tin box of coins screwed to the underside of some furniture.
Then came more, carefully concealed in a box meant for a bottle of whisky.
Finally, the man unearthed a staggering pile of gold bars – each weighing 12kg.
“At that point he called his solicitor to make an inventory,” Fierfort said.
According to certificates found in the deceased’s estate, the gold was legally purchased in the 1950s and 1960s.
It has already been sold on to buyers in France and overseas.
However, local newspaper La Depeche, which first reported the story, said the golden hello may come with a sting.
The finder will be liable for 45 per cent inheritance tax and, if the original owner did not declare his or her assets, a further three years of back taxes.