Hyped West Point Time Capsule Opened To Reveal Centuries-Old Coins

A photo of one of the coins and men looking into the time capsule.

West Point - The U.S. Military Academy / Facebook

200-Year-Old Time Capsule Opened & Old U.S. Coins Found

A recent find at West Point Academy has sent shockwaves through the community and what was initially believed to be a 200-year-old time capsule that contained nothing more than dust, had some very old United States coins in it.

When the U.S. Military Academy live-streamed the ceremonial opening of the time capsule, anticipation was high. The nation watched on the edge of their seats hoping to catch a glimpse into history or a peek at some military relics. However, what they saw was a seemingly empty box, leaving many feeling disappointed.

After the underwhelming live reveal, West Point’s archaeologist, Paul Hudson, took matters into his own hands and began carefully sifting through the sediment inside the lead box. Using only a small wooden pick and brush to push the dirt out of the way, he ended up spotting a hidden treasure.

West Point – The U.S. Military Academy / Facebook

What Type Of Coins Was Found In The Time Capsule?

The edge of a coin emerged from the silt and what followed was nothing short of exciting. In a box believed to be empty, Hudson discovered six silver American coins dating from 1795 to 1828, along with a commemorative medal.

“When I first found these, I thought, man, you know, it would have been great to have found these on stage,” Hudson said, according to AP News.

The coins themselves are a glimpse into the past, representing the early years of the United States. Among the treasures were a 1795 5-cent coin, an 1800 Liberty dollar, an 1818 25-cent coin, 10-cent and 1-cent coins from 1827, and an 1828 50-cent coin. Additionally, a commemorative medal from the Erie Canal dating back to 1826 was found. The potential value of these coins, depending on their condition, ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to well over $1,000, making them a significant find for treasure hunters or coin collectors.

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Who Left The Coins In The Time Capsule?

What’s even more intriguing is the historical context surrounding the time capsule. Academy officials believe that the box was left by cadets in 1828 or 1829, coinciding with the completion of the monument honoring Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko. This discovery adds another layer of historical significance to the find, as it ties back to the early years of the academy and the involvement of notable figures like Robert E. Lee, who was part of the committee dedicated to the monument.

As the analysis and preservation of the time capsule continue, one thing is clear: there is more to learn about both the academy’s history and the nation’s history within this small lead box. Take a look at the video below to see some of the coins that were found!