Design candidates for the upcoming 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters are now available for public review. The designs are emblematic of the five sites of national interest selected to be released in 2012 as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.
The 2012 quarters honor El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Acadia National Park in Maine, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii and Denali National Park in Alaska.
A total of fifty-six locations will have been honored under the program by the time it is completed in 2021. The coins are released at a rate of five strikes annually with 2010 serving as the debut year for the series.
Shown below are images of the design candidates offered in the order upon which the site will be honored in 2012:
2012 El Yunque Quarter Designs – Puerto Rico
The CCAC and the CFA agreed that design candidate PR-04 would be their recommendation for the 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter.
El Yunque was originally established by King Alfonso XII of Spain in 1876 while Puerto Rico was still a colony of that country. When the United States assumed control of the island it kept the reserve intact. The rain forest typically receives up to 240 inches of rain per year which fuels the hundreds of species of vegetation found within the forests borders.
2012 Chaco Culture Quarter Designs – New Mexico
NM-04 was chosen by the CFA as its favorite for the 2012 Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter. However, the CCAC did not make a specific recommendation.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park was established to protect one of the best examples of Chacoan structures known today. Built a thousand years ago, the buildings preserved at Chaco were the largest in North America until the 19th century. Today, thousands of annual visitors come to the park to take in the ancient pueblos.
2012 Acadia Quarter Designs – Maine
Design candidate ME-03 was preferred by the CFA for the 2012 Acadia National Park Quarter, whereas ME-04 was the choice of the CCAC.
Acadia National Park is considered to be the oldest national park in the eastern United States. The park was established on July 8, 1916 by the US Congress, but owes much of its infrastructure to wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who financed over 50 miles of gravel carriage trails, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, most of which are still in use by the park today.
2012 Hawaii Volcanoes Quarter Designs – Hawaii
HI-04 was the clear favorite for the 2012 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Quarter as it was chosen by both the CFA and the CCAC.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park preserves not the thermal features associated with it, but also a varied landscape ranging from a lush tropical rain forest to a barren desert. Found on the Big Island of Hawaii, the park sees over 1.5 million visitors annually, many of whom trek to see the active lava flows when they are occurring and visible.
2012 Denali Quarter Designs – Alaska
Design candidate AK-02 was submitted as the recommendation of both the CFA and the CCAC for the 2012 Denali National Park Quarter.
Found in the remote interior of Alaska, Denali National Park still receives over 1 million visitors annually. The highest mountain in North America, Denali (also called Mount McKinley) is located in the park which many come to see while driving the 91-mile park road, only a portion of which is paved.
As required by law, the America the Beautiful Quarter design candidates have already been reviewed by the two bodies charged with the task – the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA). The CFA’s review took place on October 21st while the CCAC held its meeting on October 26th. A complete account of their review will be issued later by each organization, but it is known that both group’s did agree on three of the 2012 designs.
These reviews will be taken into account by the US Mint Director when the Mint’s recommendation is forwarded to the Secretary of the Treasury who will make the final selection.
Along with these circulating quarters, the US Mint will also be striking massive bullion coins containing the same images. Known as the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin® Program, these bullion pieces were authorized by the same legislation as the quarters but will be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver. Current law calls for the coins to have a diameter of three inches making them the largest bullion products of the US Mint.