US Coins

This Day in History: May 3

New Hampshire’s famous Old Man of the Mountain formation collapsed on May 3, 2003, but it lives on in American pocket change thanks to the 2000 State Quarter for New Hampshire.

Coin image courtesy of the United States Mint.

Ancient at the time of its demise, New Hampshire’s famous Old Man of the Mountain was fairly new to circulating coinage when it collapsed on May 3, 2003.

The Old Man of the Mountain, also known as the Great Stone Face or the Profile, was a series of five granite cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that combined to create what appeared as the jagged profile of a face when viewed from the north.

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In 2000, the New Hampshire State quarter dollar showcased the profile of the iconic indigenous landmark. 

The rock formation was 1,200 feet (370 meters) above Profile Lake, and measured 40 feet (12 meters) tall and 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide. The site is located within the town limits of Franconia.

The first recorded mention of the Old Man was in 1805. 

Statesman Daniel Webster, a New Hampshire native, once wrote: “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”

After starting in 2010, the first phase of a multi-phase ambitious memorial to the formation was accomplished, before the rest of the plans were deemed beyond budget capacity and abandoned in 2013.

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