The United States Mint has unveiled the final design selections for the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters. The unveiling comes after somewhat of a slow start for the new quarter series, which will present 56 different national parks and national sites from across America.
Candidate designs had first been available around September 2009, when the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) had performed their reviews and issued recommendations. For each location, the United States Mint generated three to four different candidate designs for each quarter.
In all cases, the final designs selected by the Secretary of the Treasury had been recommended by either the CFA, CCAC, or both. The final designs for each 2010 America the Beautiful Quarter are presented below.
The Hot Springs Quarter presents a view of the facade of the building headquarters with a fountain in the foreground of the design. The CFA had recommended this design, but suggested that the small National Park Service sign shown beside the door be removed. The CCAC had recommended a different design, which had presented a view of the same fountain from a different viewpoint without the building.
The Yellowstone Quarter features the famous Old Faithful geyser with bison in the foreground and background. This was the design recommended by the CCAC. The CFA had rejected all presented candidate designs for poor quality, suggesting that additional source material should be considered.
The Yosemite Quarter depicts a view of El Capitan, a prominent granite cliff that rises over 3,000 feet above the valley floor. The CCAC had recommended this design, commenting on the simplicity and ruggedness of the image. The CFA had favored a view of the half dome rock formation, but suggested the design should be further developed.
The Grand Canyon Quarter shows a canyon level view of the granaries above the Nankoweap Delta. Both the CFA and CCAC had recommended this design, although the CFA had recommended some modifications to the design as presented. It appears that none of the suggested modifications were done to the original.
The Mount Hood Quarter features a view of Mount Hood with Lost Lake in the foreground. Both the CFA and CCAC had recommended this design. Both had lauded the design for its composition, simplicity, and the artistry of its imagery.
Besides revealing the final designs, the US Mint also provided more information on the numismatic products to be offered and the first launch ceremony.
Numismatic products will include the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set priced at $14.95 and the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set priced at $32.95. Each quarter will be sold in 100-coin bags from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mint priced at $35.95 or a two roll set priced at $32.95. The five quarters will also be included in the full 2010 Proof Set, 2010 Mint Set, and 2010 Silver Proof Set.
Notably missing from the product line up are the 1,000-coin bags from each mint and the First Day Coin Covers. I think that both of these products will be missed.
With newly released coins becoming more difficult to acquire through circulation channels, the 1,000-coin bags presented a useful opportunity to obtain the coins in bulk, albeit at a premium. Last year, 1,000-coin bags were available for each release, priced at $309.95 each.
The First Day Coin Covers would have been well suited to the subject matter of the series. Last year’s DC & US Territories Coin Covers had featured beautiful photographs from each location covering the full size of the envelope. The use of colorful photographs was an improvement from the format of the previous 50 State Quarters Coin Covers, which had used a relatively plain common design for all releases. The US Mint could have continued the use of photographs quite nicely for the America the Beautiful Quarters.
The Hot Springs National Park Quarter will be released into circulation on April 19, 2010. On the same date, the US Mint will begin sales of the 100-coin bags and two roll sets containing the quarter. The launch ceremony will take place one day following on April 20, 2010.
The remaining 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters will be released in June (Yellowstone), July (Yosemite), September (Grand Canyon), and November (Mount Hood). The exact dates for each release and launch ceremony have not yet been provided.
On a final note, the US Mint has created a website specifically for the new quarter series. I think this was a great idea, as information on specific programs can sometimes be difficult to track down on the Mint’s main website. This new site will hopefully help the US Mint to promote and generate more awareness of the new program.
Today’s ceremonies and press releases had made mention of the fact that 147 million people collected the 50 State Quarters (almost one out of every two people in America). There will no doubt be some drop off in the number who collect the America the Beautiful Quarters. Time will tell just how much.