A new generation of coins began in 2010 when the U.S. Mint issued its first America the Beautiful Quarters. The series now is in its fifth year with five new designs for 2014.
These quarters features annually changing designs similar to the U.S. Mint’s 50 States Quarters® Program and the 2009 D.C. & U.S. Territories Quarters Program, but the new coins honor national parks and national sites.
Map of America the Beautiful Quarters
To find information about a quarter, hover on its site location and click.
See also: Quarter Sites Map by State & Territory
As the map above suggests, the new quarters commemorate a historic national park or national site within each:
Unlike the first program that lasted ten years and the second which ran for one, American the Beautiful Quarters will be issued for at least 11 years with a single release scheduled in 2021. The coins are minted for circulation, with special proof, uncirculated and silver versions made for coin collectors.
Through the years, the United States Mint will strike a total of 56 different reverse (tails side) designs, as authorized by America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008.
This act was introduced on June 4, 2008, by Rep. Mike Castle. (Castle also spearheaded the popular 50 States Quarters Program which the U.S. Mint projected had earned the government $6.2 billion dollars.) Former President Bush signed the act on Dec. 23, 2008, and it became Public Law 110-456.
"Since the launch of the successful 50 State Quarters Program 10 years ago, I have been thinking about a follow up program." Castle said after his bill was signed by Bush. "I am encouraged that this program has the potential to be every bit as successful as its predecessor-both as an educational tool and as a collector’s item."
It was the U.S. Mint that officially dubbed the series name, the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. Public Law 110-456 provides the guidelines for America the Beautiful Quarters, and a couple of interesting clauses. One gives the Secretary of the Treasury the authority in 2018 (year 9 of the program) to extend the series for an additional 11 years. The other dictates that the U.S. Mint strike "exact duplicates" of the quarters in .999 fine silver. These America the Beautiful Silver Coins weigh 5.0 ounces and have a diameter of 3.0 inches, or double that of the old Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars.
The America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Series Act of 2008 provides appropriate design criteria.
As also outline by the U.S. Mint, the reverses (tails side) of America the Beautiful Quarters must be emblematic and:
"honor the national park or other national site in each host jurisdiction deemed most appropriate in terms of natural or historic significance."
The reverse or "tails side" design and selection process can be quite involved. The Federal entity responsible for the supervision, management, or conservancy of each national site appoints a liaison to "assist the United States Mint by identifying source materials for candidate designs."
Using the provided materials and in a cooperation with the liaison, the United States Mint produces three to five candidates per design for a year’s America the Beautiful Quarters..
These are submitted for review and comment to:
- The Secretary of the Interior
- The chief executive of the host jurisdiction (State/District of Columbia/Territory)
- The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA)
- The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) for review and comment.
The United States Mint at its discretion makes changes and submits the quarter design recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury, who then makes a final selection.
The obverse or "heads side" design of each America the Beautiful Quarter features a restored version of the George Washington portrait that debuted on the quarter-dollar in 1932. William Cousins modified that design slightly and his work has been seen on quarters since the 1999 launch of the 50 State Quarters Program. The new portrait includes, according to a U.S. Mint statement, "subtle details and the beauty of the original model."
The United States Mint announced the 56 national parks and national sites to be honored back on September 9, 2009.
The selection, as determined by law, was made by Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner on August 25, 2009, after "consultation with the governor or chief executive of each host jurisdiction and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar," the U.S. Mint said on the day of the announcement.
As mentioned, 2014 marks the fifth year of the American the Beautiful Quarters series. Designs on the coins honor:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN) – Design by Chris Costello and sculpted by Renata Gordon, the reverse depicts a historic log cabin found within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It also shows a segment of the lush green forest and hawk circling above. Inscriptions read GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS, TENNESSEE, 2014 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Shenandoah National Park (VA) – Designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, the reverse shows a day hiker taking in the view from Little Stony Man summit. Inscriptions read SHENANDOAH, VIRGINIA,2014 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Arches National Park (UT) – Designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Charles L. Vickers, the reverse depicts Delicate Arch, a 65-foot freestanding natural arch. The La Sal Mountains are visible in the background. Inscriptions read ARCHES, UTAH, 2014 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Great Sand Dunes National Park (CO) – Designed and sculpted by Don Everhart, the reverse shows a father and son playing in the sand next to the creek bed. The distinctive mountains and sand dunes are featured in the background. Inscriptions read GREAT SAND DUNES, COLORADO, 2014 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Everglades National Park (FL) – Designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Joseph Menna, this reverse depicts an anhinga with outstretched wings on a willow tree with a roseate spoonbill visible in the mid-ground. Inscriptions read EVERGLADES, FLORIDA, 2014 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The U.S. Mint created a National Site Registry listing the order for the quarters, which was based on when a site was first established as a national park or site. (See the Quarters Release Schedule.)
As in previous quarter-dollar programs, circulating-quality coins are struck by the United States Mint, shipped through the Federal Reserve banking system, and then make their way into daily change.
The U.S. Mint also offers options to order circulation strike America the Beautiful Quarters in bags and rolls. The collector proof and uncirculated coins will be available throughout each year, and directly from the Mint.
Public Law 110-456 does provide an option for the Director of the National Park Service to purchase the silver bullion duplicates for resale. The main distribution for these will be through the U.S. Mint’s authorized dealers.