2012 America the Beautiful Quarters

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.

Details of the CFA’s design recommendations can be found here. Images of all of the design candidates as well as the CCAC’s recommendations can be found here.

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.

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  1. John-1 says

    I like El Yunque & Chaco Culture these will look good on the 5 oz coins. I may buy Hawaii Volcanoes as a 5 oz bullion coin first to see how the design looks on silver (the drawing isn’t that great so it will be hard to tell).

  2. oldfolkie says

    I like these, I really love the parrot and frog. I’m not sure what the Volcano will look like on a real coin, but I think these designs are good. I really like using the wildlife in the foreground as was done with Olympic and Glacier. From what I’ve seen of the possibilities for 2013 these are much better. I just wish I could decide which to collect, the prettier bullion coins or the mint sold collector versions, trying to collect both is costing too much.I just realized I don’t even think of them as quarters, just as pucks. Chaco canyon may be too much to show on a small quarter.

  3. Two Cents says

    On the Hawaii coin, it looks like the background is darker than the backgrounds of the other coins … apparently to indicate a night scene?

    I wonder how that darkened look will be accomplished on the coin. Will the surface be granulated (roughed up) and/or given a highly textured finish (as opposed to a shiny finish). Interesting to see how this works out on the 3-inch silver versions, both bullion and numismatic.

  4. simon says

    WoW! Great Designs – I have hiked them all except El Yunque and Denali. I can still see myself going in circles within the Kivas in Chaco.

  5. William says

    Wow, I’m really excited about all 5! Perhaps these great designs will put some life back into the 5-ouncers?

  6. Wylson says

    I think the Hawaii is the weakest. Really like 3 of them (Danali, Acadia, and Chaco). Not sure what to make of the frog and parrot. Anyways these are cool, have to see how they translate onto the coins.

  7. Val says

    These beautiful designs will more than keep the 5 oz ATB series alive through to its completion. The designs will look great on a 3″ coin.

  8. Zaz says

    Very nice designs, glad the Mint/Treasury Secretary followed the recommendations of the CFA and CCAC. The Hawaiian Volcanoes is a singular design perfect on the quarter size blank and on the 3″ puck. Chaco seems to be the weakest of the five, will be difficult to make out the wall and details on the exposed kivas, and seems unbalanced for a coin with a Native American theme. The coqui frog should have been made larger as the sound of this animal is ubiquitous to El Yunque. Can’t wait to receive my 2012 ATB quarters sets when they are released by the Mint on Jan. 10th and 17th!

  9. Tom says

    Are they like planning on Puerto Rico being a State next year?
    All though the design of el eynque is nice it does not fit with the other wording such as The United States of America on the front of the quarter.
    The other designs are nice but I’ve been seeing alot of big deer etc… on the sides of mountians on coins lately, Olympic looks the best, and Hood is the best mountain.
    The New Mexico quarter almost looks like the surface of the moon, different.
    I was kind of hoping to see a high relief Fort McHenry design.

  10. Hidalgo says


    The two gold $5 commemorative coins are for sale for just one more week. I know you previously recommended buying the uncirculated versions of the Army and Medal of Honor coins.

    Do you still feel the same way? Do you think the proofs of both coins are potentially good buys as well? And what do you think about the 2011 W uncirculated gold eagle? Do you think that coin is a better deal than either of the two commemorated gold coins

  11. says

    I really like the Acadia design. I also like El Yunque, though I think getting it “right” on a coin could be challenging. The Denali is kind of boring and is rather similar to Glacier and Olympic. I don’t really like the Hawaii volcano all that much and am not confident it will come out well on a coin. I am neither positive nor negative towards Chaco Culture.

  12. Fosnock says

    Tom – Strange comment about Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is part of the US, as all territory under the control of the federal government is considered part of the “United States.” Sure it legalize but…

  13. J A says

    I’m glad the designs for 2012 look awesome, thumbs up to the design team.
    However, it doesn’t mean a heck of a lot to many of us whose only way to get our hands on these designs is

    Bullion and Proof issues costing hundreds of dollars

    I still have never seen even a single State Park quarter in circulation!!

    Every time I ask the Chase tellers they seem tired of telling me they don’t have them and have never seen them.

  14. says

    J A,

    Your best bet if you want to get them through the bank is to just buy large numbers of quarter rolls and spend a couple of hours on a Saturday digging through them. Banks are unlikely to provide you with specific rolls of AtBs upon request. I think it’s unlikely you’ll find many or any of the 2011 quarters, but you should be able to get some of the 2010s. I have been lucky and managed to find one example of each 2010 business strike so far. I have yet to locate any 2011’s, however.

    You should also go to multiple banks. Most banks I have dealt with will not give you trouble if you just walk up to the counter and say, “I would like to buy $20 worth of quarters.”

    You could also try buying the uncirculated quarter rolls and bags direct from the Mint’s website, albeit at a huge markup.

  15. Fosnock says

    I got rolls at my local bank and found none. I have found 3 of the 2011 in circulation but none of the 2010. I buy my quarters from the mint, and off of e-bay, both have huge markups but…

  16. Michael says


    I will have a post on the commemorative coins next week- right after the new sales figures are available. If historical patterns hold true, the $5 gold coins should prove to be good buys.

  17. VA Bob says

    Still believe they should have did ATB’s on half dollars. It would have provided a larger canvas for the designs and put a little juice in half dollar interest, which is basically minted for collectors anyway. I suppose it’s too late for a change now.

  18. LM says

    Another option for getting the quarters, if you’re lucky enough to live (or have friends) in the right part of the country: The gift shops at the Denver Mint (located right next to the mint) and at the Mint Headquarters in DC have change machines that dispense the latest quarter for face value (also the current dollar coin, for that matter). I expect the Philadelphia and possibly San Francisco (and maybe even West Point) mints also have them.

  19. Clair Hardesty says

    Tom, to further clarify the Puerto Rico question, for the state quarter series, D.C. and the territories were an afterthought (really a second, one year series) but for the AtB coins they were included from the get go, as part of a 56 coin series. This allows the sites in D.C. and the territories to take their logical place in the series as a whole.

  20. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    I think they should have did the 5 oz ATBs on the Sacagawea dollar since the Mint’s made great reverse designs since 2009. (I can’t wait untill the 2012).
    Also ATB silver would not have been bad using the presidential dollar designs, either. As for the 2012 ATB designs above, although the Chaco Culture is pretty good, it is going to be hard to top the 2010s. The 2010s just have absolutely great artwork and classic designs and in my opinion will be hard to top.

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