A few weeks back, an article on Coin Update News provided a first hand account of the official launch ceremony for the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Quarter. The conclusion of the article mentioned having one of the quarter rolls obtained form the ceremony marked with a special cancellation. Since there were some questions and interest on the topic, I wanted to explore it here in more detail.
For each release of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, the United States Mint and National Park Service have held an official launch ceremony. Typically these take place either at the site depicted on the quarter or a nearby location. There are representatives present from the Mint and the NPS, along with other important figures from the state or associated with the park. The ceremonies are open to the public and often attended by area school children. The ceremonies usually include a presentation, remarks, speeches, a ceremonial coin pour, and a free quarter for children in attendance. Members of the public are given the chance to exchange currency for $10 rolls of the new quarters.
For each quarter launch ceremony, a nearby post office has served as a cancellation station where the public may have rolls or other ceremony items marked with an official pictorial cancellation. The cancellations have been prepared by Chuck Taylor, who is not directly associated with the Post Office or the US Mint, but who promotes the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.
Rolls or other items containing the pictorial cancellation become an intriguing type of collectible that attests to an origin from the official launch ceremony. For attendees of the ceremony, the items provide a unique type of souvenir for only the cost of a stamp. The specially canceled rolls are also sometimes offered for sale on eBay or other secondary market sources at a typically modest mark up.
I was lucky enough to obtain a roll of quarters and program with the pictorial cancellation from the first release of the series featuring Hot Springs National Park. These were sent to me by a contributor to Coin Update News who had covered the ceremony. Once there are some launch ceremonies within driving distance, I plan to attend and obtain canceled rolls and other items to remember the event.
I was able to get in touch with Chuck Taylor who provided an image of the pictorial cancellation for the upcoming Mount Rushmore National Memorial Quarter and details of the availability.
The launch ceremony for the quarter will be held on Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 10:00 AM MT at the National Guard Armory, 527 Montgomery Street, Custer, SD 57730. The pictorial cancellation will be available at the United States Post Office located at 643 Mount Rushmore Road, Custer, SD 57730. First class postage is required and must be affixed to each item to be cancelled.
Due to a late change in location for the launch ceremony, a different pictorial cancellation will also be available at the post office that serves Mount Rushmore National Memorial located at 111 Winter Street, Keystone, SD 57751. This will be the first time that two cancellations will be available. Custer is about 30 minutes away from the park while Keystone is next door.
The next launch date for the quarter featuring Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee should take place in late January or early February. If readers are interested, I will post information on the availability of future pictorial cancellations for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program ahead of the launch.