Man finds ‘small fortune’ buried on his farm

A lucky man has discovered a “small fortune” buried in the dirt at his farm after unearthing more than 800 rare gold coins

A Kentucky man has discovered a “small fortune” buried in the dirt at his rural farm after unearthing more than 800 Civil War-era coins potentially worth more than a million dollars.

The stunning treasure trove has been dubbed the “Great Kentucky Hoard” and includes hundreds of US gold pieces dating to between 1840 and 1863.

In a short video released by collectable coin seller GovMint, the man — whose identity and specific location have not been made public — says: “This is the most insane thing ever. Those are all $1 gold coins, $20 gold coins, $10 gold coins,” as he aims his camera at the artefacts lodged in the dirt.

GovMint described his find as the “discovery of a lifetime”.

The Great Kentucky Hoard. Picture: GovMint.

The Great Kentucky Hoard. Picture: GovMint.

The 800+ coins after they were authenticated. Picture: GovMint.

The 800+ coins after they were authenticated. Picture: GovMint.

According to the Numismatic Guaranty Co (NGC), which certified the coins’ authenticity, and GovMint, where the coins were sold, 95 per cent of the hoard consisted of gold dollars, known as $1 Gold Indians, along with 20 $10 Gold Liberty coins and eight $20 Gold Liberty coins.

The rarest is the 1863-P $20 1-ounce gold Liberty coin. Just one of these coins can sell for six figures at auction — the Great Kentucky Hoard boasts 18 of them.

NGC’s website notes that the $20 Liberty coin, which circulated from 1850 to 1907, was minted by the Treasury Department after gold was discovered in California. The $20 Liberty coins found on the man’s property are even rarer because they do not include the words “In God We Trust,” which was added in 1866 after the end of the Civil War.

NGC also noted “several interesting varieties and errors (that) were also discovered”, which can make a rare coin even more valuable. One of the most sought after coins in US history is a 1943 Lincoln Penny that appeared entirely by accident after a handful of coins were accidentally made from copper.

An 1863 $20 gold coin found in the hoard. Picture: GovMint.

An 1863 $20 gold coin found in the hoard. Picture: GovMint.

An 1861 $1 with a mint error, found in the hoard. Picture: GovMint.

An 1861 $1 with a mint error, found in the hoard. Picture: GovMint.

Rare coin dealer Jeff Garrett, who was brought in to handle the Great Kentucky Hoard, said it was a “virtual time capsule of Civil War-era coinage”.

As well as providing an unexpected fortune to the rural farmer, the coins also shed light on a troubled period of American history when the newly independent country was embroiled in civil war.

Kentucky was a neutral border state between the north and south, which meant residents frequently found themselves torn between the warring sides.

Many wealthy Kentuckians are rumoured to have buried huge sums of money to prevent them from being stolen by militaries.

In 1872, James Langstaff left a letter saying he had buried $20,000 worth of gold coins on his property in Paducah, Kentucky, while fellow Kentuckian William Pettit buried $80,000 worth of gold coins near Lexington. According to LiveScience, neither of these bounties have been recovered — though, unlike in many countries, Americans aren’t required to report historic finds discovered on private property.