Striking the wrong note

Yesterday’s Vaguely Interesting article looked at the numismatic phenomenon that is the US 50 State Quarters programme. Whilst it was an unrivalled seigniorage success story, the programme was not without its mishaps, mistakes or unintended consequences. Once a state’s chosen image was minted, it was there for posterity in hundreds of millions, if not billions, of copies.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire depicted the Old Man of the Mountain in its state quarter. It was issued on 7 August 2000, with the craggy old man staring out implacably to the similarly implacable state motto – live free or die.

The Old Man of the Mountain was one of New Hampshire’s iconic natural landmarks. Its geological description is uninspiring – just five granite cliff ledges jutting out from the side of Cannon Mountain in the state’s White Mountain range.

But, when viewed from the north, it magically transformed into the furrow browed profile of a face. It became famous enough to be chosen as New Hampshire’s state emblem in 1945, given pride of place on car license plates and state route signs and, of course, was chosen to represent the New Hampshire on its state quarter.

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