Making an appearance specifically for collectors this year will be circulation quality 2012-S America the Beautiful Quarters, with the "S" designation signifying the coins’ production at the United States Mint facility in San Francisco.
While the quarters will be circulation quality, they will not be released as such. Instead, they will be limited, and offered within rolls and bags directly to coin collectors as numismatic products.
These America the Beautiful Quarters will be especially unique as all other U.S. coins produced for circulation (pennies, nickels, dimes, etc.) are struck at U.S. Mint facilities in either Denver or Philadelphia. Two of the five 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters that have already been released into circulation, the El Yunque National Forest Quarter and Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter, are examples of current circulating quarters as all of them have the traditional "D" or "P" mintmarks.
For coinage, the San Francisco facility is responsible for, among other things, minting proof quality coins for numismatic sale within collectible proof sets. It has been years (since the early 1980’s) since the facility actually produced a circulation quality coin.
No other coins of circulation quality are expected out of the San Francisco Mint this year, making the 2012-S America the Beautiful Quarters further stand outs.
The U.S. Mint plans a maximum mintage of 1.4 million for each quarter which will be for "numismatic sales in 100-coin bags and 40-coin rolls later in the year," according to CoinWorld.
As coin enthusiasts may remember, each time a new quarter is released and enters circulation, it is offered within two-roll sets and bags. But again, these have been filled with quarters from either Denver or Philadelphia.
This year’s quarters include reverse designs honoring El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Acadia National Park in Maine, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii and Denali National Park in Alaska.
The San Francisco Mint first opened its doors in 1854. It was moved in 1874 and then again in 1937. This year is the 75th anniversary of the opening of the mint at its current location.