700 Civil War-Era Coins Were Found on a Farm in Kentucky

The 'Great Kentucky Hoard,' a multi-million-dollar cache of Civil War-era gold coins, captivates historians and collectors.

Lauren Thomann is an antique dealer, freelance writer, and editor with 16 years of experience and a B.A. in English and Linguistics. She specializes in antiques (mainly Victorian through Mid-Century), antique jewelry, old house renovations, and lifestyle and home-related content.
Civil War Gold coins found in Kentucky
Credit: NGC

A treasure trove of over 700 gold coins dating back to the Civil War era has been discovered on a farm in Kentucky. The collection, now known as the “Great Kentucky Hoard,” is believed to be worth millions and has attracted the attention of historians and numismatists.

The coins were found in a metal box buried in a cornfield, and the collection spans from 1840 to 1863. Kentucky was a border state during the Civil War and proved to be fertile ground for outlaws, bootleggers, and gangsters during those years. The Civil War was also a time of great apprehension, and many people hoarded their money, resulting in the disappearance of vast amounts of coinage from circulation.

The Collection

The collection includes:

  • US gold dollars in Type I, Type II, and Type III dated between 1854-1862.
  • $10 Libertys dated between 1840-1862
  • $20 Libertys dated between 1857 and 1862.

Among the coin collection are a few extremely rare 1863 gold Liberty double eagles, a date that is scarce in all grades. Interestingly, some of the coins originated from the elusive Dahlonega Mint in Georgia, which operated from 1838 to 1861 and exclusively minted gold coins.

Grading and Sale

The Numismatic Guaranty Company, a third-party coin grading service, has authenticated and graded the coins. The majority of the coins were graded in extremely fine to mint state, indicating their excellent condition despite their age. More importantly, the coins have been given the “Great Kentucky Hoard” pedigree label by NGC.

Credit: NGC

The resident who discovered the coins has decided to donate a portion of them to the Kentucky Historical Society for preservation and public display. The remaining coins will be auctioned off and sold by GovMint, with the proceeds going towards community development projects in the area.

This 2023 discovery serves as a reminder that historical treasures can still be found in unexpected places. It also underscores the importance of preserving such finds for their historical and cultural value.

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