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1795 Time Capsule Buried By Sam Adams, Paul Revere Opened In Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – The oldest time capsule in America was opened in Boston Tuesday night.

Photo Gallery: Time Capsule Opened At MFA

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 Revere IV
Paul Revere IV (WBZ-TV)

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.

1795 Time Capsule
A silver plaque inscribed by Paul Revere, found in a 1795 time capsule, is displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts on January 6, 2015, in Boston. (Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)

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

There were five folded newspapers, two dozen coins, some dating back to the 1650s, a seal of the Commonwealth, and a silver plate made by Paul Revere, dedicated on the day it was placed in the cornerstone of the State House. An engraving on the plate reads in part, "on the 4th day of July Anno Domini 1795… being the twentieth anniversary of American independence."

"And it has fingerprints on it," Hatchfield observed.

Time capsule
Pam Hatchfield points to George Washington Medal (Photo credit Bernice Corpuz/WBZ)

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.

The newspapers were not unfolded. The stash will be on display at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Read: Keller: What To Put In Next Time Capsule

The box will eventually be buried again at the State House.


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