A man recently made the discovery of a lifetime when he unearthed a massive cache of rare Civil War-era coins — the majority of them gold — on his Kentucky farm earlier this year.
The incredible find, dubbed the “Great Kentucky Hoard,” could be worth millions of dollars. The unidentified man who found the coins recorded himself as he sifted through the dirt, pointing out the different types of gold coins he had discovered. The location of the discovery has not been revealed.
“This is the most insane thing ever,” the man said in the video. “These are all $1 gold coins, $20 gold coins, $10 gold coins and, look, I’m still diggin’ them out.”
The rare coins date between 1840 and 1863 and include eighteen 1863-P $20 Gold Liberty coins, which is the rarest year for that specific coin, according to GovMint, a coin dealer. These reportedly often fetch six figures.
Additionally, “hundreds” of American gold dollars from 1850 to 1862 were discovered, as reported by the Numismatic Guaranty Company, a coin grading service. Roughly 95% of the hoard is made up of gold dollars, and some silver coins were also discovered.
A man from Kentucky unearthed a Civil War-era fortune of over 700 gold coins in his cornfield.
Now that’s a good day on the farm. pic.twitter.com/Ayvkvxh4rH
— Gold Telegraph ⚡ (@GoldTelegraph_) July 10, 2023
“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, including coins from the elusive Dahlonega Mint,” rare coin dealer Jeff Garrett said of the hoard.
The story behind the hoard is also interesting, as it’s often reported that wealthy Kentuckians buried much of their wealth to prevent it from being stolen from bootleggers and outlaws, the Daily Mail notes. Georgia Southern University archeologist Ryan McNutt told Live Science, “given the time period and the location in Kentucky, which was neutral at the time, it is entirely possible this was buried in advance of Confederate John Hunt Morgan’s June to July 1863 raid.”
Just a month after the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter in 1861, Kentucky Democratic Governor Beriah Magoffin officially declared the state neutral, making Kentucky one of four slave states not to secede from the Union, despite divided loyalties among the citizenry. Two years later, after numerous successful raids of the Bluegrass State, Morgan and his men set out from Sparta, Tennessee, and made their way into Kentucky. His attack would go into Indiana and end in Ohio, and it cost the Union hundreds of thousands of dollars in both military and civilian property damages, according to the American Battlefield Trust.
McNutt told Live Science that because the coins discovered in the hoard were federal currency, it would “be wise to conceal from a Confederate raiding party.” He also said during this time period, many Americans “became experienced with hiding goods and valuables.”