Who says it doesn’t pay to be a farmer? Called the Great Kentucky Hoard, more than 700 Civil-era gold coins were discovered in a Kentucky cornfield in June. The buried coins have now been cleaned and certified by the Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) as genuine $1, $10 and $20 gold coins minted before and during the Civil War and could be worth more than $1 million.

One type of coin in the haul drew particular attention from coin collectors: gold Liberty double eagles which are valued at anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to nearly $400,000 at auction, depending on their condition and when they were minted. GovMint.com, a coin dealer, is selling the coins.

How the coins ended up buried on the Kentucky farm is up for debate. Kentucky fought with the Union after the Confederacy invaded western Kentucky in September 1861. The state was politically divided, however, with Kentucky residents fighting on both sides of the war. The coins may have been buried during that period to protect them from an invading army, according to NGC. The treasure trove of coins included several minted in 1862 and 1863, when Kentucky was the site of fierce battles between the United States and the Confederacy.

“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 rare coin dealer Jeff Garrett, who handled the treasure for NGC. “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. Finding one Mint condition 1863 Double Eagle would be an important numismatic event. Finding nearly a roll of superb examples is hard to comprehend.”



Civil War-era gold coins

The hoard of Civil War-Era coins before certification.


Graded 1863 $20 gold coin

A graded 1863 $20 gold coin from the Great Kentucky Hoard.


Photos: Courtesy Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC)

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