America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins
America the Beautiful Quarters took center stage Wednesday when the US Mint announced the new program to an awaiting public. With a ton of fanfare about the list of national parks and sites the new quarters will feature, it was easy to miss the Mint’s same-day introduction of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins.
But before reviewing these silver coins, an understanding of the new quarter series is important.
America the Beautiful Quarters will feature up to five new designs each year beginning in 2010 and lasting to 2021. The eleven year series will result in 56 circulating quarter-dollar coins with reverse designs emblematic of a selected site in each state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories — Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.
"These new quarters will honor some of our most revered, treasured and beautiful national sites — majestic and historic places located throughout the United States and its territories that truly make us ‘America the Beautiful,’" said United States Mint Director Ed Moy.
America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act, which authorized the new series, also mandates that the US Mint strike "exact" silver bullion "duplicates" of each quarter, and thus was born the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin Program.
The American the Beautiful silver coins specifications are not standard by any stretch of the imagination. Each will:
- have a diameter of 3.0 inches;
- weigh 5.0 ounces;
- contain .999 fine silver;
- have incused into the edge the fineness and weight of the bullion coin;
- bear an inscription of the denomination of such coin, which shall be ‘quarter dollar’; and
- not be minted or issued by the United States Mint as so-called ‘fractional’ bullion coins or in any size other than the size described in paragraph
Their diameters will be twice the size of early US silver dollars, like the Morgans, and nearly double that of today’s American Eagle Silver, which is 1.598 inches in diameter and includes one ounce of silver.
For silver coin collectors and investors, this new program looks to have both its pros and cons. The thought of a super-sized US coin can certainly be daunting. Some seasoned numismatists are less than thrilled with the new program. Numismatic News Editor Dave Harper summed up the feeling of many coin collectors in an article entitled New U.S. bullion coins; who cares?
"I think the whole thing makes a joke of American coinage, but then the solons in Congress thought otherwise and tucked the provision into the quarter bill. Will bullion investors flock to it? Why would they do so? The American Eagle is so much more widely traded and recognizable."
On the flip side, the series may open up new avenues for investors and bring the hobby news collector. How will the younger generation feel toward the bullion coins? That is key. Only time will tell.
The silver coins will follow each quarter release. Here is a list and release dates compliments of America the Beautiful Quarters Release Schedule. The National Site Registry list is also available from the US Mint at http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/NSQuartersProgram/?action=siteRegister.
America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins Release Schedule
|Year||Location|| National Park or
|2010||Arkansas||Hot Springs National Park|
|Wyoming||Yellowstone National Park|
|California||Yosemite National Park|
|Arizona||Grand Canyon National Park|
|Oregon||Mt. Hood National Forest|
|2011||Pennsylvania||Gettysburg National Military Park|
|Montana||Glacier National Park|
|Washington||Olympic National Park|
|Mississippi||Vicksburg National Military Park|
|Oklahoma||Chickasaw National Recreation Area|
|2012||Puerto Rico||El Yunque National Forest|
|New Mexico||Chaco Culture National Historical Park|
|Maine||Acadia National Park|
|Hawaii||Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park|
|Alaska||Denali National Park|
|2013||New Hampshire||White Mountain National Forest|
|Ohio||Perryâs Victory and International Peace Memorial|
|Nevada||Great Basin National Park|
|Maryland||Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine|
|South Dakota||Mount Rushmore National Memorial|
|2014||Tennessee||Great Smoky Mountains National Park|
|Virginia||Shenandoah National Park|
|Utah||Arches National Park|
|Colorado||Great Sand Dunes National Park|
|Florida||Everglades National Park|
|2015||Nebraska||Homestead National Monument of America|
|Louisiana||Kisatchie National Forest|
|North Carolina||Blue Ridge Parkway|
|Delaware||Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge|
|New York||Saratoga National Historical Park|
|2016||Illinois||Shawnee National Forest|
|Kentucky||Cumberland Gap National Historical Park|
|West Virginia||Harpers Ferry National Historical Park|
|North Dakota||Theodore Roosevelt National Park|
|South Carolina||Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument)|
|2017||Iowa||Effigy Mounds National Monument|
|District of Columbia||Frederick Douglass National Historic Site|
|Missouri||Ozark National Scenic Riverways|
|New Jersey||Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty)|
|Indiana||George Rogers Clark National Historical Park|
|2018||Michigan||Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore|
|Wisconsin||Apostle Islands National Lakeshore|
|Minnesota||Voyageurs National Park|
|Georgia||Cumberland Island National Seashore|
|Rhode Island||Block Island National Wildlife Refuge|
|2019||Massachusetts||Lowell National Historical Park|
|Northern Mariana Islands||American Memorial Park|
|Guam||War in the Pacific National Historical Park|
|Texas||San Antonio Missions National Historical Park|
|Idaho||Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness|
|2020||American Samoa||National Park of American Samoa|
|Connecticut||Weir Farm National Historic Site|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve|
|Vermont||Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park|
|Kansas||Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve|
|2021||Alabama||Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site|