The curse of the quarter
Honoring states: In 1997, the Treasury Department announced the State Quarters program, to honor various contributions of the 50 states. The states themselves get to pick the subject of their designs, which are then minted on the backs of quarters and released according to the order by which the individual state joined the Union. Subjects of depiction include history, tourist activities, and flora and fauna. Since Delaware's quarter came out on January 4, 1999, commemorative coins representing 22 states have been released, and three more are scheduled to roll out this year. Misfortune of some sort has afflicted 17 of the depicted designs. To be sure, many problems have been minor, even trivial. Still, when bad luck affects three out of every four, one wonders about the nature of coincidence. Here are some of the more unusual woes:
New Hampshire: Did the Old Man of the Mountain die of natural causes, or was a curse the culprit? The distinctive rock formation had been famous since Native Americans roamed the White Mountains. More recently, New Hampshire selected it for engraving as the state's contribution to the U.S. Mint's "50 State Quarters" program. When the rock's face crumbled to dust in early May, it was a blow for naturalists and numismatics alike. Age was cited as the official cause of the Old Man's demise. But conspiracy theorists take note: since the Mint inaugurated the coin series, a string of unfortunate events has befallen many of its subjects.
Maryland. The quarter depicts the statehouse in Annapolis, America's oldest legislative building still in use as a capitol. Last summer, the historic wooden cupola was struck by lightning, starting a small fire, which had to be extinguished by automated sprinklers.
Kentucky. The Bluegrass State takes its equine traditions seriously, so it chose a thoroughbred and the inscription, "My Old Kentucky Home." That theme song was heard at Churchill Downs again this year -- serenading Funny Cide, the first native New Yorker to win the Kentucky Derby. For proud locals, the fact that the horse is a gelding may have proved particularly emasculating.
Vermont depicts maple syrup producers. Tapping yields were down as much as 33 percent this winter, according to the Burlington Free Press. Indiana's coin features the once-venerable Indy 500. The event's luster has fallen so far that this year, its TV broadcast attracted fewer viewers than another car race held the same day.
Page #1 Statehood Quarters (Pictures)
Page # 2, Statehood Quarters (Mintages & Errors)
Page # 3, Statehood Quarters (News Paper Artical: Curse of the Quarter)
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