1795 time capsule buried by Paul Revere opened in Boston

Two hundred and nineteen years ago, Paul Revere and his good friend Sam Adams, then governor of Massachusetts, placed a time capsule in the cornerstone of the new state house.

Yesterday, Paul Revere IV was on hand when it was opened.

CBS Boston:

The oldest time capsule in America was opened in Boston Tuesday night.

For history buffs, it was the Super Bowl, or rather the ‘super box’. It’s five by seven inches and 220 years old: two centuries older than Paul Revere IV.

“We are a pretty forward looking city but we get to remember old stuff,” Paul Revere IV said at the ceremony.

Paul’s great, great, great, great, great, grandfather is Paul Revere. In 1795, Revere and Governor Samuel Adams placed it under a cornerstone of the new State House.

It was dug up once in 1855 and re-buried and then rediscovered in December.

Pam Hatchfield, a conservator at the Museum of Fine Arts opened it using a porcupine quill.

There were five folded newspapers, two dozen coins, some dating back to the 1650s, a silver plaque, and the seal of the Commonwealth.

According to the Associated Press, the oldest coin in the box was a 1652 “Pine Tree Schilling.”

Michael Comeau, executive director of the Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Museum, tells the AP that he has seen the coins offered for as much as $75,000, but given the association with Revere and Adams, the value could be much higher.

Fascinating what people think might be of interest to their descendants in the future. Although the US Mint had been established a few years earlier, most people used a variety of gold and silver coins in their everyday transactions. English, French, and Spanish coins were commonplace, hence their inclusion in the time capsule.

How cool is it that a direct descendant of Paul Revere was on hand to witness the opening of the box? I would hope they wouldn't try to sell the contents, but rather make the contents of the box a permanent display at the museum. It's a glimpse into the minds of two great Americans and a reminder of all they did to secure our freedom and our future.