Designs for the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters have been announced by the United States Mint. Preliminary circulation release dates for the coins are also available based on information from the Federal Reserve Banks.
The five coins issued for the third year of the series will feature El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Acadia National Park in Maine, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, and Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Initially, the US Mint produced four to five different candidate designs, which were reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), and others.
The images below represent the final design selections for the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters. Also included is information on the designers and sculptors, anticipated circulation release dates, descriptions of the designs, and any relevant commentary from the CFA and CCAC reviews.
El Yunque National Forest Quarter
Release Date: January 23, 2012
Designer: Gary Whitley
Sculptor: Michael Gaudioso
The design features an image of the Coqui tree frog and a Puerto Rican parrot behind an epiphtye plant with more tropical flora in the background. The Puerto Rican parrot is an endangered species that is unique to Puerto Rico. Its recovery began with the few birds left in El Yunque.
The CFA had recommended this design featuring animals and foliage that were distinctive features of the park. They did suggest revising the image of a plant that initially appeared behind the frog. This plant was removed for the final design. The CCAC also recommended this design, although one member thought the frog might resemble a bug on the small diameter of the quarter.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter
Release Date: April 2, 2012
Designer: Donna Weaver
Sculptor: Phebe Hemphill
The design features a view to the west of two elevated kivas that are park of the Chetro Ketl Complex. Also included in the design are the north wall of the Chetro Ketl and the north wall of the canyon.
The CFA had recommended this design since it best conveyed the vastness of the setting and the Native American construction that has given it cultural significance. The CCAC did not offer an official recommendation for this coin, although this design had received the highest number of votes. The CCAC Chairman had asked if any of the designers had visited the park- they had not. Another member described this as a difficult subject to depict on a coin.
Acadia National Park Quarter
Release Date: June 11, 2012
Designer: Barbara Fox
Sculptor: Joseph Menna
The reverse design features a view of the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on Acadia’s rough coastline. The design incorporates the ocean, the coastline, a lighthouse, and pine trees- all of which are representative elements of Acadia.
Both the CFA and CCAC had recommended this design. The CFA had made the recommendation that the lighthouse be moved off center to provide more room for the ocean. The US Mint followed this suggestion, as originally the lighthouse was directly at the center of the design.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Quarter
Release Date: August 27, 2012
Designer and Sculptor: Charles L. Vickers
The design features an eruption on the east rift of Kilauea Volcano.
Both the CFA and CCAC recommended this design. The CFA commented on the “strong, single image” which would be the most compelling on a coin. The CCAC overwhelmingly supported this design over others which included the images of native dancers in the foreground.
Denali National Park Quarter
Release Date: November 5, 2012
Designer: Susan Gamble
Sculptor: Jim Licaretz
The design features a Dall sheep with the image of Mount McKinley towering in the background.
Both the CFA and CCAC recommended this design. The CFA suggested that the mountain should be rendered in low relief. The CCAC suggested that the image of the sheep should be enlarged. The US Mint did follow this suggestion as the sheep appears larger than on the original design candidate.