“Mountaineers always free” — West Virginia State Quarter Coin

Today, the West Virginia State Quarter Coin remembers the new state of West Virginia and their selection of a great seal 153 years ago.

From the Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia of 1863:



[Extract from the report of the Joint Committee on Seals—adopted September 26, 1863.]

The disc of the great seal to be two and one-half inches in diameter.

The obverse to bear the legend, “State of West Virginia,” the constitutional designation of our republic, which, with the motto “Montani semper liberi,” (in English, “Mountaineers always free,”) is to be inserted in the circumference.

In the centre, a rock with ivy, emblematic of stability and continuance, and on the face of the rock the inscription “June 20, 1863,” the date of our foundation, as if ‘‘graved with a pen of iron in the rock forever.”

On the right of the rock a farmer clothed in the traditional hunting shirt peculiar to this region, his right arm resting on the plow-handles, and his left supporting a woodman’s axe, indicating that while our territory is partially cultivated, it is still in process of being cleared of the original forest.

At his right, a sheaf of wheat and a cornstalk.

On the left of the rock, a miner, indicated by a pick axe on his shoulder, with barrels and lumps of mineral at his feet.

On his left, an anvil, partly seen, on which rests a sledge hammer, typical of the mechanic arts, the whole indicating the principal pursuits and resources of the State.

In front of the rock and figures, as if just laid down by the latter and ready to be resumed at a moment’s notice, two hunter’s rifles, crossed, and surmounted at the place of contact by the Phrygian cap, or cap of liberty, indicating that our freedom and independence were won and will be defended and maintained by arms.

The above to be also the legend, motto and device of the less seal, the disc of which, should have a diameter of an inch and a half.

The reverse of the great seal to be encircled by a wreath composed of laurel and oak leaves, emblematic of valor and strength, with fruits and cereals, productions of our State.

For device, a landscape.

In the distance, on the left of the disc, wooded mountains, and on the right, a cultivated slope with the log frame house peculiar to this region.

On the side of the mountain a representation of the viaduct on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, in Preston county, one of the great engineering triumphs of the age, with a train of cars about to pass over it.

Near the centre, a factory, in front of which a river with boats on the bank, and to the right of it nearer the foreground a derrick and shed appertaining to the production of salt and petroleum.

In the foreground a meadow with cattle and sheep feeding and reposing, the whole indicating the leading characteristics, productions and pursuits of the State at this time.

Above the mountains, &c., the sun emerging from the clouds, indicating that former obstacles to our prosperity are disappearing.

In the rays of the sun, the motto “Libertas e Fidelitate,” (in English, “liberty from loyalty,”) indicating that our freedom and independence are the result of faithfulness to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the National Constitution.

The committee further recommend that the above device and motto for the obverse of the great seal, be also adopted as the coat of arms of the State.


The West Virginia State Quarter Coin shows with images of the Great Seal of West Virginia, obverse and reverse, along with their Coat of Arms.

West Virginia State Quarter Coin