US Coins

When are they going to open the Boston time capsule?

A date has been set for the opening of the Massachusetts State House time capsule that was originally placed by some very famous Americans and is believed to contain a number of 17th, 18th and 19th century U.S. coins.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, have announced in a joint statement distributed Tuesday morning that the 10-pound container will be opened for the first time since 1855 during a 6 p.m. press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 6.

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"One of the oldest in the country, the time capsule was originally placed under the State House cornerstone in 1795 by Governor Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and William Scollay,” the statement reads. "It was previously unearthed in 1855, when the contents were documented and cleaned. At that time, additional materials were added to the capsule, which was then placed in a brass container and returned to the State House, where it was plastered into the underside of a massive granite cornerstone."

The time capsule was removed during a seven-hour recovery effort on Dec. 11. Attention was recently refocused on the time capsule as maintenance work was being performed at the State House.

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On Dec. 14, an x-ray was performed on the capsule to get an idea what was inside. It showed what MFA staff believe are silver and copper coins dated from 1652 to 1855, an engraved silver plate, a copper medal honoring George Washington, newspapers, the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, cards and a title page from the Massachusetts Colony records. 

The press conference during which the time capsule will be opened will take place at the MFA. 

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