On February 3, 2012, the United States Mint will begin sales of numismatic bags and rolls for the 2012 El Yunque National Park Quarter. This is the first release of the year for the America the Beautiful Quarters series, and the eleventh release overall.
The reverse design for the El Yunque Quarter depicts the Coqui tree frog sitting on a leaf and the Puerto Rican parrot behind an epiphyte plant with tropical flora in the background. This was designed by Gary Whitley and engraved by Michael Gaudioso. The obverse of the coin features the 1932 portrait of George Washington designed by John Flanagan.
The US Mint will offer two roll sets, which contain one 40 coin roll from the Philadelphia Mint and one 40 coin roll from the Denver Mint. The rolls have special wrappers which indicate the release, mint mark, and face value of the contents.
Pricing for the two roll sets will be $32.95. This is a reduction of from the price of $39.95 charged for the two roll sets offered for the 2011-dated quarters.
The US Mint will also offer 100-coin bags of El Yunque Quarters, either from the Philadelphia or Denver Mint. The mint-sewn canvas bags include labels which indicate the release and mint mark of the coins, with the face value printed on the bag.
Pricing for each bag is $34.95. Once again, this is a reduction from the prior year price, when the 100-coin bags were $49.95 each.
The US Mint indicates that sales of the El Yunque numismatic bags and rolls will continue for one year from the initial product release date.
The bags and rolls for each of the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters still remain available for sale on the US Mint’s website. The Gettysburg Quarters are actually slightly over the indicated one year availability period. At the current time, pricing for the 2011 bags and rolls remains at the higher levels, rather than the new lower pricing.
Circulation Release Date and Launch Ceremonies
The El Yunque National Forest Quarters have already entered circulation on January 23, 2012, through distribution from the Federal Reserve Banks. For previous releases, the start of sales for the US Mint’s numismatic bags and rolls has been more closely aligned with the circulation release date.
It’s also worth noting that the El Yunque Quarters began circulating without an official launch ceremony. CoinWorld recently reported that these ceremonies remain in limbo as US Mint officials look at the procedures and processes of the events to make sure they are handled efficiently, mostly it seems from a cost perspective.
Launch ceremonies have been held for the first ten releases of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, nearly all releases of the Presidential Dollar Program, and the four releases of the 2009 Bicentennial Lincoln Cents. The events attracted hundreds or even thousands of attendees and were often preceded by a collector forum hosted by the US Mint. I had been able to provide coverage for many of these launch ceremonies thanks to reports and photos from collectors who had attended the events. (Here is the article for the Hot Springs Quarter.) While the costs of such events must be considered, the launch ceremonies did seem to build awareness of the series and generate excitement within the local communities.