The United States Mint begins sales of the Mount Hood National Forest Quarter bags and rolls today November 15, 2010 at 12:00 Noon ET. This coin represents the final release of the year for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.
Looking back over the program so far, the most predominant sentiment has been frustration over the inability to collect the coins through the channels of circulation. Within national publications, one of the few mentions of the series (besides the initial launch) was in this USA Today article lamenting the fact that the quarters are so hard to find. The article attributes this to the slow economy, but I think the bigger factor is that financial institutions do not have the ability to special order the coins in unmixed quantities.
In one of my own articles on Coin Update, I explained this in further detail along with a list of where to find National Park Quarters.
As covered in the past, the US Mint has created the circulating coin bulk purchase program, perhaps as an attempt to solve the distribution problem. However, because of the $50,000 face value minimum purchase, this program would really only serve to let mass marketers or large scale coin dealers to obtain the coins at low premiums. Average collectors are left with the higher premium numismatic bags and rolls program, which leads us to the current product release.
The 2010 Mount Hood National Park Quarter two roll sets consists of one 40-coin roll from the Philadelphia Mint and one 40-coin roll from the Denver Mint. Coins are packaged in specially designed wrappers which indicate the national site, state abbreviation, mint mark and face value. Each two roll set is priced at $32.95.
Bags containing 100-coins are also available from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mint. Tags denote the date, national site, state abbreviation and face value of the contents. Each bag is priced at $35.95 each.
As with prior offerings, the bags and rolls are intended to remain available for sale from the US Mint for one year following the circulation release date.
Preliminary production figures for the Mount Hood Quarter have not yet been specified by the US Mint. However, the number of coins struck so far can be determined by backing out the known production figures by design from overall quarter production within the latest US Mint coin production figures. As of October 31, 2010, the US Mint had struck 34.4 million coins each at the Philadelphia and Denver mint facilities, for a combined total of 68.8 million. The current total is right around the average production level for the first four designs in the series.