The third 25-cent piece in the America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program entered circulation on July 26, 2010, and was officially released in a ceremony three days later on July 29, 2010.
The 2010 Yosemite National Park Quarter ceremony introduced the new coin to a crowd of about 1200 people at the Valley Visitor’s Center in Yosemite, California.
Similar to the first Hot Springs National Park Quarter and second Yellowstone National Park Quarter ceremonies, the Yosemite event was jointly hosted by the United States Mint and the National Park Service.
The U.S. Mint, of course, actually produces all American coins, and began offering bags and rolls of the quarters when they started entering circulation via the Federal Reserve Banks.
The ceremony was a chance to showcase the new quarter at the park it honors. Yosemite was established as a national site on October 1, 1890, and is one of the first wilderness parks in the United States. Its famous El Capitan, the largest granite monolith in the world, is featured on the reverse or tails side of the quarter-dollar. The image was designed by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna and sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
"This new quarter is yet another way that Yosemite’s legacy will live on by reminding those who take home the Yosemite National Park quarter how special America’s national parks are," said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher.
As in past ceremonies, each child at the event received one shiny new quarter for free. U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy and Neubacker had the honor of handing them out. Adults stood in lines to exchange cash for rolls of the coins which were brought to the ceremony by the Yosemite Credit Union.
The 2010 Grand Canyon National Park Quarter for Arizona and 2010 Mount Hood National Forest Quarter for Oregon will launch later this year (See the 2010 release locations.)
The obverse or heads side of each America the Beautiful Quarter continues to bear the familiar portrait of George Washington, although the new coins feature a restored image of the first U.S. President which brings out subtle details not seen on older coins.
With the third coin in the series now entering circulation, fifty-three more are upcoming. Each honors a national park or other national site in every U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia. To do that, the United States Mint will strike five quarters per year until the last one is released in 2021. (See quarters release schedule and sites.)