Somewhere in Britain and France lie the two halves of a key to a £650,000 golden casket which sealed the end of almost 1,000 years of conflict between the two old foes.
That, at least, is the claim of the co-author of the world’s longest-running treasure hunt.
Michel Becker says he bought the solid-gold casket celebrating the 1904 Entente Cordiale agreements between the UK and France at an auction and has had it authenticated by the jewellers who wrought it.
The French artist is famed for sculpting a golden and silver owl in flight buried in mainland France in 1993 and for drawing the illustrations of the book required to find it. More than a quarter of a century later, the riddle of La Chouette d’Or (The Golden Owl) remains unsolved.