The historic significance of Harpers Ferry is the reason it was chosen to represent the state of West Virginia on the Silver 5-oz ATB 2016 Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Coin. It was minted in 2016, and it’s composed of 5 troy ounces of 99.9% pure silver. It is the 3rd design released in the 2016 ATB series and the 33rd coin in the overall collection.
The reverse side of the Silver 5-oz ATB 2016 Harpers Ferry Coin bears the image of the armory’s firehouse, today is known as John Brown’s Fort. It’s the oldest standing building found in the historical park today. Although John Brown’s actions were, and still are controversial, the significance of his actions, arguably influencing the start of the American Civil War can not be forgotten. The design also features the inscriptions of the featured historical landmark, state and year of issue, and the old Latin U.S. motto “E Pluribus Unum."
The obverse of the coin features the classic left-profile display of President George Washington. It was created in 1932 by John Flanagan, with the approval of the U.S. Congress on the 200th anniversary of the first president’s birth. Around the display, we can see the word “Liberty” signifying the foundation of the country, and the official motto of the United States “In God We Trust."
About Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Harpers Ferry is a historic town in Jefferson County, West Virginia. It’s located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, where the U.S. states of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia meet. Historically, it was a strategically important junction point. The position it had, and the feasibility of a ferry - the first regular one across the Potomac, made it a natural site of commerce.
Robert Harper is the person that recognized the land’s great industry potential while passing through the area named “The Hole.” In April 1751, he purchased 126 acres of land from Lord Fairfax. Then in 1761, he went on to establish and maintain a ferry across the Potomac River, with the approval of the Virginia General Assembly.
Thomas Jefferson, during the visit with his daughter in 1783, called the site “perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature.” George Washington also traveled to the area as president of the Patowmack Company, during the summer of 1785 to determine the need for bypass canals. In 1794, he proposed the site for a new United States armory and arsenal due to his familiarity with the area.
In 1796, the federal government purchased a 125-acre parcel of land from the heirs of Robert Harper. Construction of the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry began in 1799. They produced most of the small arms for the U.S. Army, and the town was transformed into an industrial center. At some point, it was destroyed to prevent capture during the Civil War.
The most famous event at the town happened when abolitionist John Brown led an armed group in the capture of the federal armory in 1859 in the hopes of starting a slave liberation movement that would spread through the south. He succeeded in seizing the armory, but only a few slaves joined the revolt. Brown and most of his men were faced with locals, militia, and U.S. Marines, the latter led by Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee. Brown and his men were forced to retreat to the armory’s firehouse, where he was ultimately captured. Brown’s dream of a first blow in a war against slavery was over in less than 36 hours.
Brown was hastily tried and convicted on the charges of treason, the murder of five men, and inciting a slave insurrection. He is the first person in U.S. history to be executed for treason. His actions and efforts proved instrumental in changing the perspective on slavery and starting the American Civil War.
Today the federal armory is known as John Brown’s Fort and is featured on this commemorative silver coin. Because of the various and important historical events that transpired in the town and area, it was designated as Harpers Ferry National Monument in 1944, and later it was declared a National Historical Park by the U.S. Congress in 1963.
- 33rd design in America the Beautiful Series, and the third ATB series coin released in 2016
- Iconic image of George Washington originally designed by John Flanagan
- One of the largest silver bullion coins ever issued by the United States Mint
- Face value of $0.25 (USD) backed by the United States.
- Relatively small mintage of only 55,300 5 oz silver bullion coins
- Contains 5 oz of 0.999 fine silver
- Coin quality is guaranteed by the U.S. Mint
*We pack individual coins in plastic sleeves for protection before shipping. If you order 10+ of the same coin, we’ll secure them in protective tubes before shipping.