Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

America the Beautiful Quarters Program

Today, the United States Mint announced the 56 sites that will be featured as part of America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The legislation which authorized the program had stipulated that the Secretary of the Treasury must select the complete register of sites with 270 days of enactment. One site was selected from each state, the District of Columbia, and each US Territory.

The sites will be featured on the reverse design of quarters in the order they were first established as a National Site. Five different designs will be released each year starting in 2010. One design will be released in the final year of the program in 2021.

The five America the Beautiful Quarters to be released in 2010 are the following:

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yosemite National Park, California

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Mr. Hood National Forest, Oregon

The obverse of the coin will feature a portrait of George Washington. This will be a restored version of the portrait used on the Washington Quarter first released in 1932, "including subtle details and the beauty of the original model." The State Quarters and US Territories Quarters had used a redesigned version of the original obverse executed by William Cousins.

On one of my earlier posts about the upcoming quarter series, I had raised the question of what the series would ultimately be called. The authorizing legislation was entitled "America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008." On this basis, the name "National Park Quarters" was being used by most people, although the US Mint seemed to be favoring the more inclusive term "National Sites Quarters."

America the Beautiful Quarters is somewhat lengthy, but covers all of the subjects to be depicted on the quarters from National Parks and Forests to Wildlife Refuges and other sites. I also think this name provides more positive connotations than the other alternatives. It highlights the subjects as places of beauty, rather than the fact that they are sites controlled by a federal entity.

The US Mint has already created subscription programs for the new quarter series. Under the subscription program, the products will be sent to customers as they become available. The programs include Quarter Proof Sets (clad and silver), Two Roll Quarter Sets, 100-coin bags (Philadelphia, Denver, or both), and 1,000-coin bags (Philadelphia, Denver, or both).

Scanning through some of the sites, I came up with a few points of interest. Yellowstone National Park is not listed first, even though it was the world's First National Park. Hot Springs National Park was apparently established as a reserve in 1832, which predates Yellowstone by 40 years. Hot Spring Reservation later became a National Park in 1922.

Some subjects will be repeats of the previous State Quarter designs, such as the Grand Canyon for Arizona and Mount Rushmore for South Dakota. The Statue of Liberty, which had been depicted on the New York Quarter, will be featured on New Jersey's quarter this time around.

Lastly, there will only be one design in the final year of the program featuring the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. This would seem to give the design five times more emphasis than the other designs of the series, provided it is minted and issued for the entire year. I think most people had been believed that six coins would be issued in the final year of the program (as is the case with this year's quarters).

Any other comments about the program or site selection from readers? Please post them in the comments.

The complete schedule for America the Beautiful Quarters Program is listed below.

Year Location Site Federal Entity
2010 Arkansas Hot Springs National Park NPS
2010 Wyoming Yellowstone National Park NPS
2010 California Yosemite National Park NPS
2010 Arizona Grand Canyon National Park NPS
2010 Oregon Mt. Hood National Forest USFS
2011 Pennsylvania Gettysburg National Military Park NPS
2011 Montana Glacier National Park NPS
2011 Washington Olympic National Park NPS
2011 Mississippi Vicksburg National Military Park NPS
2011 Oklahoma Chickasaw National Recreation Area NPS
2012 Puerto Rico El Yunque National Forest USFS
2012 New Mexico Chaco Culture National Historical Park NPS
2012 Maine Acadia National Park NPS
2012 Hawaii Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park NPS
2012 Alaska Denali National Park NPS
2013 New Hampshire White Mountain National Forest USFS
2013 Ohio Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial NPS
2013 Nevada Great Basin National Park NPS
2013 Maryland Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine NPS
2013 South Dakota Mount Rushmore National Memorial NPS
2014 Tennessee Great Smoky Mountains National Park NPS
2014 Virginia Shenandoah National Park NPS
2014 Utah Arches National Park NPS
2014 Colorado Great Sand Dunes National Park NPS
2014 Florida Everglades National Park NPS
2015 Nebraska Homestead National Monument of America NPS
2015 Louisiana Kisatchie National Forest USFS
2015 North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway NPS
2015 Delaware Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge US F&W
2015 New York Saratoga National Historical Park NPS
2016 Illinois Shawnee National Forest USFS
2016 Kentucky Cumberland Gap National Historical Park NPS
2016 West Virginia Harpers Ferry National Historical Park NPS
2016 North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt National Park NPS
2016 South Carolina Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) NPS
2017 Iowa Effigy Mounds National Monument NPS
2017 District of Columbia Frederick Douglass National Historic Site NPS
2017 Missouri Ozark National Scenic Riverways NPS
2017 New Jersey Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty) NPS
2017 Indiana George Rogers Clark National Historical Park NPS
2018 Michigan Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore NPS
2018 Wisconsin Apostle Islands National Lakeshore NPS
2018 Minnesota Voyageurs National Park NPS
2018 Georgia Cumberland Island National Seashore NPS
2018 Rhode Island Block Island National Wildlife Refuge US F&W
2019 Massachusetts Lowell National Historical Park NPS
2019 Northern Mariana Islands American Memorial Park NPS
2019 Guam War in the Pacific National Historical Park NPS
2019 Texas San Antonio Missions National Historical Park NPS
2019 Idaho Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness USFS
2020 American Samoa National Park of American Samoa NPS
2020 Connecticut Weir Farm National Historic Site NPS
2020 U.S. Virgin Islands Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve NPS
2020 Vermont Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park NPS
2020 Kansas Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve NPS
2021 Alabama Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site NPS



At September 9, 2009 at 10:13 AM , Blogger Lasloo said...

Reposting from the last thread (more relevant here):

There could be some winners in the new quarters series. And ironically, I think that's because a lot of collectors, and the general public as well, are burnt out on the whole trend of new quarter designs every year... for what will be a total of 22 years.
Also, I just don't think this National Park theme will be enough to inspire people to collect and put in Whitman books and the like. So, in general, there will be less hoarding of these new quarters. Mintages may start going back up, but they won't rise in any rapid way. So historically, the mintages should be low as well.

At September 9, 2009 at 11:34 AM , Blogger astroguy said...

That one quarter the last year is definitely weird. I wonder if it was (a) something in the legislation we missed, (b) some lobbyist from Arkansas who wanted it and got it, or (c) just general lack of any interest/caring on the Mint's planning part in whether there would just be one the last year (effectively thinking, "so what?").

At September 9, 2009 at 12:21 PM , Anonymous vaughnster said...

I know it's the last reason "so what."

At September 9, 2009 at 12:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At September 9, 2009 at 12:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish the mint would focus on some silver and gold coins instead of another round of quarters.

At September 9, 2009 at 12:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A new typical, boring program from the U.S. Mint. I'll pass. I'd rather collect the old coins, when design actually meant something. I'm so fed up with the garbage the mint produces. I'm sick of seeing Washington on the quarter as well, and I have nothing against Washington or anything. I'm sick of seeing dead presidents on the coins in general.

The mint wonders why their dead president dollar coins program aren't going anywhere. There is no interest nor demand for dead presidents on coins (they act like this is something unique lol), and all that on top of fact that the dollar bill is still king of dollars.

How about retiring all the circulating coins and their current designs. Get rid of all these dead people, and bring back Lady Liberty. Bring more classical icons back into the coins, like eagles, shields, arrows, etc. I have a feeling there would be greater interest in such. Our coinage is so plain and boring, it makes me sad whenever I get change and look at it. It's a disgrace.

Then you have a new 2010 Commemorative for Disabled Veterans. Who picks these designs? These designs really represent our Government well. Uninspiring, and incompetent.

At September 9, 2009 at 2:10 PM , Anonymous VABEACHBUM said...

In reading through the entire US Mint announcement, I noticed a subtle reference to programatic Silver Bullion Coins that would coincide with the release of each new quarter. Preliminary stats for these silver coins are five ounces and three inches in diameter.

There had been previous board discussions requesting / begging for multi-year, large coin programs where a bigger canvas supports design detail and overall eye appeal. Based on the mint information, looks like we will be left to suffer through the poor execution of what could have been a very good large-coin collection program. As the name indicates, Silver Bullion Coin lends itself towards investors, not towards collectors. The coin stats confirm that. And, I don't think I will need to remind anyone of the additional impact this new program might have on silver availability for Proof and UNC SAE's.

Given the proposed numbers and current trends, five ounces of silver and mark-ups through approved bullion outlets are going to push the limits of $150+ per coin. Sadly, had the Mint considered $30 - $35 per coin in a collector program, they probably would have sold 3 to 5 coins per transaction anyway and directly to the public!!

We have not seen any collector SAE's to date and, at this point, we're really not expecting any. Since this is going to be another "legislated" silver bullion program, the SAE's have moved another step lower on the priority list. I don't want to be the person to say it out loud, but I think this new silver bullion coin program all but confirms the end of the Collector SAE's. I, for one, hope that I am soooo wrong!!

At September 9, 2009 at 2:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Horrible, who is going to collect these! I think the price of the modern gold and silver eagles are going to go up due to the lack of coins out there and collectors having no better options. I also do agree with the posts above of bringing in new coins into circulation from the past and larger coins. Look at the rest of the world Mints!

At September 9, 2009 at 2:52 PM , Blogger Lasloo said...

While I tend to agree with everyone so far... we actually haven't seen any of the designs for any of these coins. One or more of them may be something worth keeping.
But yes, the Mint and Congress are like an SNL kit... you know, the ones where it's really funny and entertaining at first, but then they just run the joke into the ground. The State Quarters idea was great... but now, ugh, its overkill.

I agree... lets change it up and go back to more allegorical images. However, I would like to do something different than Lady Liberty or eagles or the like. We haven't had a flag on a coin yet, though I think the 2010 Union cent might do that.

What are the NEW symbols that represent America that could be used on future coins? And to nip it in the bud at the start, images of poverty lines isn't what I'm going for here... :-)

At September 9, 2009 at 2:54 PM , Anonymous vaughnster said...

Wow, the original Washington bust will be used, with some tweaks, on the new quarters. Wow, how boring.
Even though the Presidential Dollars are quite dull, I think interest will increase once the presidents who served after 1900 start appearing. Seeing Teddy Roosevelt or Harry Truman on a coin will be pretty neat. Other than Abraham Lincoln, what president from Polk up to T.R.interests people?? The majestic artistry of coins I'm afraid is loooooong gone.

At September 9, 2009 at 3:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, I kinda like the looks of Grant. A pres. with a real beard, how cool is that? And how about Grover Cleveland? I mean, a guy outside of Sesame Street named Grover. Come on!!

At September 9, 2009 at 4:07 PM , Anonymous vaughnster said...

Well, you got me on those two.... :-)

At September 9, 2009 at 5:31 PM , Anonymous Keith said...


The design specifics for the Silver Bullion coin were not Mint desire - it was required by the legislation.

And because it is so huge, it won't be slabbable in mass, which means sales will be abysmal. Some of the coins may have support from people who enjoy the sites, but the nutcase registry folk (me, etc..) can't slab them so they won't buy them.

At September 9, 2009 at 5:41 PM , Anonymous Keith said...

I'm very impressed with the breadth of sites chosen. For several states, they passed over more popular sites to pick some areas that will give more depth to the program.

Great Sand Dunes in CO instead of Rocky Mountain NP

Ozark Natl Riverway in MO instead of Gateway Arch in St Louis

Chaco Culture Park in NM instead of the more well-known Carlsbad Caverns or White Sands

Shenandoah in VA instead of any number of sites such as Mt Vernon, Monticello, etc..

At September 9, 2009 at 5:43 PM , Anonymous Michael Steinberg said...

You all miss the point. The Mints might as well close if not for collector issues...coins have become a nuisance, not to mention close to valueless, in terms of purchasing power. Under Obama, this trend will increase, not to mention, the use of credit cards, electronic payments, debit cards, etc. We are creating pseudo work for the employees in Phila., and Denver. Then we are supposed to treasure this scrap metal...and buy it in rolls and bags, and store it! Boy, does the govt. take us for total idiots?!!!

At September 9, 2009 at 6:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A huge series of more useless quarters that will be minted until 2021? LOL, well, that's one series I won't bother to buy or collect. At my age, I won't be alive to finish the series in 2021. LOL.

I'll pun intended. -Grandpa.

At September 9, 2009 at 6:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have very many pleasant memories of Chaco Canyon, NM, including doing some surveying work there, taking overseas visitors for a tour, and getting caught with my folks in a flash flood and being stuck in the mud till 2 am. This is certainly a coin I will be looking to acquire in quantity! SFS

At September 9, 2009 at 7:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

New coins...sounds more like recycled ideas.

Give me a week in the mint and there would be a new coin.

I suggest a coin with an individual "serial number" possibly on a silver dollar...every coin would be unique. Hey, they do it to the bills, let them have at it with a coin.


At September 9, 2009 at 8:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll enjoy seeing these new designs in my pocket change, but there may be a few that I don't think I'll keep both mintmarks.

There are so many billions of coins coming back to banks now from the last series' hoards, that we may only see a token few released by the Fed at the 5 per-year ceremonies. (ala Lincoln cents) I'd like to get to all the ceremonies though, just to see the sights! RSF

At September 9, 2009 at 8:42 PM , Blogger Lasloo said...

Steinberg, you do raise a good point regarding the rise and dominance of electronic payments and credit... and that will, if it hasn't already, erode on using pure hard cash AND coins for most purchases. And over time, I could see not just the penny, but the nickel as well become more of a burden to production. However, I do believe that it will take a long time before we see the total elimination of coinage.

But if and when that happens, there would be no fiduciary mandate for the US Mint to exist in its current form. At which point, commemorative coins/medals would be all that the govt would ever need to create. However, it may take getting to this point before you find this new quarter series as being a true collectable.

Didn't people dislike the look of the Morgans until they started coming out of the vaults in the 50s?

At September 10, 2009 at 7:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can the mint convey the essence of the beauty of any national park given the limitations of the quarter
diameter and the coldness of zinc?
At least with the state quarters you can place two dimensional icons and it makes some sense but personally I've been to the Theodore Roosevelt Nat'l. Park in Medora, ND and it's complex beauty is breathtaking beyond words or artistry.
I just don't see how this works except a bit better on the silver proofs.

Jim L.

At September 10, 2009 at 8:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This new set of quarters of National Parks might be more meaningful if they put the President that was responsible for saving each park on the coin instead of Washington...Also the date it occured.

It would be interesting to see the who and when of these National Park events.


At September 10, 2009 at 11:48 AM , Anonymous kbsig106 said...

Down with the quarter - it is overrated. lol

11 more years of chasing another set.

At September 11, 2009 at 7:59 AM , Blogger Michael said...

Regarding the one quarter in the final year, here's what the legislation says:

"The quarter dollar coins bearing designs of national sites under this subsection shall be issued at the rate of 5 new designs during each year of the period of issuance under this subsection."

I guess they are interpreting this to be 11 years of 5 per year, with a remainder of 1.

At September 11, 2009 at 8:03 AM , Blogger Michael said...


You raise some very interesting points about the oversized silver bullion coins. I think I will write a full post covering everything known about these releases in a separate post.

At September 11, 2009 at 8:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to the next quarter series starting in about 2030 or so: "Native Bacteria of the United States." Each year they could come out with oh, 360 or so different designs (one a day!), and the series would end sometime towards the end of the next millenium.

At April 8, 2010 at 11:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Various things I want to say: first, as for the comment about it being unnecessary to still mint coins?... There is going to be coins and dollars for a long time. Yes, debit/credit cards are becoming popular, but do you seriously think they are going to do away with tangible money any time soon? Get real... And there's no need to 'chase' these quarters as many did with the 50 states if you don't feel it is worth the effort- Just enjoy them as they come out and use them as a learning tool (or even a 'vacation guide' haha)

I think it is commendable that the U.S. Mint actually cares enough about these natural and historic sites to dedicate the time and effort into paying tribute to them. If you've ever been to a worthy National (or even state) Park, then you'd know that they should be recognized because they truly are amazing. The extreme man power, legal battles and devotion that made the parks' system what it is today was surely worth it.

And as one post said, 'bringing back fond memories'- that's what it is all about! How many people got nostalgic when their state quarter was introduced? Not I.


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