Bizarre smell, what could this be? : HomeImprovement

We have a room in the house we just moved into that we haven’t spent any time in yet, because it has asbestos tiles that we want to cover up before we use it. It’s a small storage room, about 110 sq ft, that we don’t really need so this project has been low on a long list. The only things in this room, besides the tiles on the floor, are some old wooden shelves, some broken screens from a different room’s windows, and our gas hookup. We’re pretty sure this room was built as an extension to the current house in the 90s, it’s on the corner of the basement, doesn’t connect to the central air and has just one exposed lightbulb above the doorway to the rest of the house.

I walked in there today and was confronted by the weirdest smell. I am really not sure how to describe it but the best I can do is something like: very pungent, distinct metallic note almost like smelling a handful of pennies. It does NOT smell like what I understand mold would smell like, e.g. something rotten. However in looking around I did find this area on the back wall that looks to me like some mold growing.

I’m mostly trying to figure out if I should be concerned about this smell, which I have never smelled in my life and certainly not anywhere else in this house, including the adjacent rooms. My first thought was the gas hookup, but I brought two other people into the room and neither of them thought it smelled like gas. Second thought is a dead animal, but I don’t see any place for an animal corpse to hide and none of the adjacent rooms, to any side or above, smell at all like this, which makes me think it can’t be something in the wall (and there are no windows). Finally, the panel box is not in this room and I don’t think it has any wiring except for the one bulb, so despite the “metal = burning wires” impulse I don’t see how it could be that. It also doesn’t smell like anything burning.

Googling “why does my room smell like a jar of pennies in a hot car” doesn’t yield anything useful so I’m turning to the collective wisdom of r/homeimprovement. Anyone encounter this before? Or have ideas for how I could narrow this down? I’m happy to hire help, especially if it could be serious, but I don’t even know who to hire for something like this.

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