Time capsule from era of Paul Revere, Sam Adams discovered in Boston, leaks coins

A conservator from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is working on freeing the capsule Thursday
By , Coin World
Published : 12/11/14
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Updated at 9:11 a.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 12.

A hidden time capsule that has been residing inside a granite block at the Massachusetts State House in Boston since the 18th century was freed after a full day's work by a conservator Thursday, and several coins from inside fell out, according to a Boston Globe report.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is working with the State House to provide conservation consultation and services, and the Globe reports that the small green box has been taken to the museum.

"An MFA conservator was onsite at the State House today to assist with the safe removal of the time capsule. No timeframe has been established for the initial X-ray or opening of the box," Amelia Kantrovitz, the museum's media relations manager, said in an emailed statement to Coin World.

UPDATE: Here are 12 photos from the opening of the Boston time capsule

Reads the Globe report, "The capsule is believed to contain artifacts that date to 1795 when it was first buried under the cornerstone of the building by Governor Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and William Scollay, based on records found by the [Gov. Deval] Patrick administration detailing a ceremony when the capsule was buried." 

The paper reports a spokeswoman from the Executive Office of Administration and finance as saying the capsule is believed to be holding silver and copper coins dated between 1652 and 1855, a year the capsule was discovered and then put back in place during repairs to the building.

A silver plate, newspapers, and the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are also expected to be inside.

RELATED: Here are some of the best tweets about the Boston time capsule

Conservator Pam Hitchfield from the Museum of Fine Arts was working to remove the block by taking a chisel to a bottom corner when the coins fell out, according to the Globe.

Coins were shown to media onhand, including to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 reporter Carl Stevens, who tweeted out a picture of three (below).

READ: X-ray performed on Boston time capsule that may contain 17th century Pine Tree shilling

The Associated Press is reporting that the capsule was originally made of cowhide and was hidden in the State House's granite when construction on the building began in 1795. 

When it was put back after those repairs, its contents were transferred to a copper box, according to the AP.

Business Insider is speculating that it might be the oldest ever unopened time capsule.

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