Coronavirus: French brothers strike gold under lockdown

Stock image of children building a makeshift tent Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The brothers were hoping to build a shelter when they made a surprise discovery (file image)

It's fair to say that life under lockdown can be boring at times.

Most parents will have come to appreciate the increasingly tricky task of keeping the kids entertained.

But as the weather warms up, plenty of children will be looking to the garden for new ways to pass the time.

And for two French brothers, that resulted in a valuable discovery.

Their parents decided to leave Paris when France imposed a lockdown and move to a family home in the town of Vend?me, south-west of the capital.

The boys, both aged about 10, asked to build a makeshift hut in the garden using branches, leaves and sheets.

Their father, a businessman in his 60s, told them that they could use their late grandmother's sheets, which were in a spare room.

When they went to collect them "two fairly heavy objects" fell out, Philippe Rouillac, a local auctioneer, told BFMTV. "They didn't pay attention to them and put them back."

But the boys soon told their father about the discovery.

"He asked them to go and get them," Mr Rouillac said. "But he initially believed they were knife holders that belonged to the grandmother."

He contacted Mr Rouillac's company to double check and, after sending a few photographs, he was told the good news.

Image copyright Rouillac Auctioneers
Image caption One of the bars which is set to be auctioned next month

The objects were not knife holders, but two gold bars weighing 1kg (2.2lb) each.

Both bars are now listed on the auctioneer's website with an estimated value of 40,000 euros (?35,800; $43,800) apiece.

It turned out that the bars were purchased by the grandmother in 1967 and even come with a proof of purchase.

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Moreover, the price of gold has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. "We are going to wait for the price of gold to rise a little more," Mr Rouillac said. "They could get at least 100,000 euros."

But the two brothers aren't willing to give up their discovery without some key assurances.

"They said to their father: 'We're going to be able to have a pool,'" Mr Rouillac recalled.

That's one way to keep them entertained.

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