1795 Boston Time Capsule Opening on Jan. 6

by Mike Unser on December 24, 2014 · 8 comments

Coins and other early-American mementos buried by midnight rider Paul Revere and Founding Father Samuel Adams will see the light of day for the first time in nearly 160 years, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) announced Tuesday.

Time capsule box from State House in Boston (top) and x-ray of it (bottom)

Top: A photo of the time capsule taken from a cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Bottom: An X-ray showing the capsule’s contents. (Photo credits Museum of Fine Arts.)

On Dec. 11, 2014, a more than 200-year-old time capsule was excavated from a granite cornerstone at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Excitement about its contents has been building ever since.

"Located inside a carved depression within the stone, the time capsule was encased in plaster along with miscellaneous coins — a custom of the time that symbolized good luck," describes a joint statement from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Museum of Fine Arts.

Originally placed under the cornerstone in 1795 by revolutionary war figures Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and William Scollay, the capsule will be opened at 6:00 PM ET on Jan. 6, 2015.

It will actually be the second such viewing, but the first happened long ago. The original time capsule was previously unearthed in 1855, when its 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 statement reads.

Based on an X-ray taken Dec. 14, 2014 and an account from the reburying ceremony in 1855, inside the 10-pound time capsule about the size of a cigar box is a collection of:

  • silver and copper coins dated from 1652 to 1855,
  • an engraved silver plate,
  • a copper medal honoring George Washington,
  • the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
  • newspapers,
  • cards, and
  • a title page from the Massachusetts Colony records.

Eventually, the contents of the capsule are expected to be placed into a new container and returned to the granite cornerstone at the State House.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave December 24, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Just one of many traditions that make the U.S.A. the greatest country on the planet !!!

dale December 24, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Amazing,They should add some 2015 us mint coins too it. Seal it in a new time capsule for the next 200 years for our people The Greatest Country, The United States of America,

Senior December 25, 2014 at 1:29 am

We as a modern nation fail to meet the historical standandards of our founding fathers

Senior December 25, 2014 at 1:48 am

Yesterday’s.men were creating there and our destiny today our representative are only interested in there own interests

Jp December 25, 2014 at 5:25 am

Sadly I agree with you Senior. Lets hope it’s not too late for the people and politicians of this country to WAKE UP, and see the destruction that greed is causing. This usurping of the Constitution has got to stop. We are not a Monarchy.
A blessed and Merry Christmas to all, and happy holidays to everyone who celebrates this time of year.

Dave December 25, 2014 at 6:47 am

A thank-You to both Jp and Senior for saying what I did not !! Merry Christmas to You both and to all the coinnews.net readers.

Mike December 25, 2014 at 7:59 am

I would love to see the ceremony live on the internet & TV.

dale December 25, 2014 at 12:42 pm

a custom of the time that symbolized good luck,” describes a joint statement from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Museum of Fine Arts. Good luck and Merry Christmas !!! 2015

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