The Champagne house Alexandre Bonnet, based in Aube in the north-east of France, recently hit headlines when workers renovating the roof of one of the company’s old buildings hit the jackpot – hundreds of gold coins rained down on their heads from the ceiling they were working on.
The cache of gold coins were discovered when one of the workers took a crow bar to the rafters and dislodged the secret hoard which fell onto the astounded men.
The coins were minted between 1851 and 1928 in the United States and one theory is that the coins were payment for champagne exported to the USA during the time of prohibition. There was a ban on importing alcohol into the US at that time so cash would have been paid to avoid records being found and then hidden until it could be “laundered”. The value of the gold coins which weighs around 17k, is estimated at around €750,000 and under French law the estate will be shared between the workers who discovered it and the house of Alexandre Bonnet the owners of the land – if no one comes forward to claim them.