A man has found a cache of more than 800 Civil War-era coins in a discovery that has been called the “Great Kentucky Hoard.”
The unidentified man discovered them buried on a farm in Kentucky earlier this year, according to a news release from GovMint – a company that sells rare collectible coins. GovMint also shared a video of the man making the find.
“This is the most insane thing ever,” the man is heard saying in the video, out of breath. “Those are all $1 gold coins, $20 gold coins, $10 gold coins … this is [expletive] unreal.”
The man contacted rare coin dealer Jeff Garrett to handle the coins, which were authenticated by the Florida-based grading and certification service Numismatic Guaranty Company. GovMint will be handling the sale of the coins to collectors.
“While I’m always excited when someone calls asking for advice about a rare coin discovery, the opportunity to handle the Great Kentucky Hoard is one of the highlights of my career,” Garrett said.
“The importance of this discovery cannot be overstated, as the stunning number of over 700 gold dollars represents a virtual time capsule of Civil War-era coinage.”
The trove included coins from the elusive Dahlonega Mint, a former branch of the U.S. Mint built in Georgia during the Georgia Gold Rush in the 1830s. The Mint operated from 1838 to 1861.
“Finding one Mint-condition 1863 Double Eagle would be an important numismatic event. Finding nearly a roll of superb examples is hard to comprehend,” Garrett said.
David Camire, the president of NGC’s Numismatic Conservation Services, said he examined each coin and discovered a previously unlisted unique variety in which the date on the coin was re-punched into the die a second time lower than the first which left a double image to the date.
According to GovMint, most of the coins found are listed in extremely fine or Mint-state condition.
Ryan McNutt, a conflict archaeologist at Georgia Southern University, told Live Science the treasure was likely buried ahead of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s failed raid on Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia in July 1863.
McNutt expressed frustration that landowners in the United States are not required to consult with archaeologists whenever such finds are made. He told LiveScience that such hoards provide large amounts of information and insight into history.
He said these snapshots into history are now “lost forever.”