In 1859, the abolitionist John Brown took over the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in Virginia, with a force of eighteen men. Brown had assumed that the slaves in the area would rally around him and his men and after chasing out the pro-slavery residents, would help set up an independent state in the relative seclusion of Appalachia. Things did not go to plan and Robert E. Lee was sent to deal with the extremist abolitionist. A short conflict saw most of Brown’s men killed and the rest taken captive, including Brown, and shortly sentenced to death. Could this 1859 half eagle, minted in North Carolina, have been present in Harper’s Ferry for the event which is seen by many to have accelerated the launch of the Civil War?