Trove of 700 Civil War-Era Gold Coins Discovered in Kentucky

The coins date to between 1840 and 1863.

An anonymous man unearthed the 700-plus gold coins in a cornfield in Kentucky earlier this year. (For now, he’s keeping his identity and the exact location of the farmland under wraps.) Per a statement from, the dealer selling the so-called Great Kentucky Hoard, the coins date to between 1840 and 1863. They include $10 gold coins featuring a bust of Lady Liberty, rare $20 gold Liberty double eagles minted in 1863 and $1 coinsknown as Indian princess dollars.

In a video taken shortly after the discovery, the finder pans the camera over dozens of dirt-encrusted coins. “This is the most insane thing ever,” he says. “Those are all $1 gold coins, $20 gold coins, $10 gold coins. And look. I’m still digging them out.

Upon certifying the coins, NGC said that they may have been buried as a result of Kentucky’s declaration of neutrality during the civil war.

The state, which bordered northern union states and southern confederate states, adopted a neutral position during the war which the NGC said led to many families across the state being pitted against one another.

The coins have since been put up for sale on the market, with the Gold Indians ranging between $995 and $1,295, according to The Gold Libertys have also been put up for sale, with customers being required to call in regarding their availability and price.

According to the Professional Coin Grading Service, another third-party coin grading company, the auction record for a Proof 1863 Gold Liberty Double Eagle is $381,875.

Jeff Garrett, a rare coin dealer and expert in US coinage, was contacted to handle the hoard, NGC said.

“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,” said Garrett.

“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,” Garrett said, referring to a Georgia-based mint that operated from 1838 to 1861 and only produced gold coins.

The Smithsonian, The Guardian

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