The Telegraph reported today that A man walked into an auction house with a rucksack containing £200,000 of gold which he sold off for charity after undergoing a Damascene conversion which persuaded him to “give to the poor”.
The mystery owner claimed he had kept the collection of rings, sovereigns and ingots under his bath at home but decided to part with the valuables after reading the Bible and “seeing the light”.
The valuables raised £200,000 for a local charity when they were sold at Charles Hanson’s auction house in Etwall, Derbyshire, last Friday.
Mr Hanson said the collector asked for his identity and the chosen charity to be kept secret.
Valuer Edward Rycroft was on duty at a Hansons’ Friday valuation day when the man walked in with the gold which “resembled a modern-day Saxon hoard”.
According to The Telegraph, it included more than 600 sovereigns, cigarette cases, Krugerrands, half sovereigns, ingots and wedding bands.
The collector told him he had kept the hoard hidden in the bathroom of his Derby home.
Mr Hanson said the “act of kindness” came after the collector picked up a Bible and randomly opened it up at Jesus’s advice to the Rich Man, whom he told: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”
Mr Hanson said: “Our vendor was initially outraged that Jesus believed it wrong to store wealth, but on further investigating Christ’s teachings it led him to realise that he was in fact wrong.”
He added that the man told him: “After a lot of soul searching and a fierce internal debate, angry scepticism turned into my belief. Like a modern-day Saul of Tarsus, I saw the light'”.
In the Bible, Saul was a sect leader who hated Christians but was converted after seeing a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus, and became Saint Paul.
Mr Hanson added: “For one small Derbyshire concern it will make a world of difference and guarantee its longevity in the years to come.”
He also confirmed the auction house had carried out detailed research into the man and his collection to ensure all the items were genuine and had come into his possession via honest means.
“We did very thorough due diligence tests as when this relatively young man walked in with this stuff alarm bells did start ringing as we thought, ‘My goodness, this is not normal’” he said.
“But he is a very decent man who felt someone else could benefit from these possessions far more than him.”