During recent years and prior to major coin release ceremonies, the United States Mint Director has held public coin forums where the collectors and the media can ask numismatic questions and learn about old, new and forthcoming coins.
The most recent coin forum was held in Springfield, Illinois, by Director Ed Moy on February 10, 2010, which was the evening prior to the official release ceremony of the 2010 Lincoln cent.
The Springfield forum was a bit over an hour long, with dozens of questions asked and answered. A hot top of conversation was news and information surrounding the yet to be released 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters. The first five coins honor:
- Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas,
- Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming,
- Yosemite National Park in California,
- Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and
- Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon.
The following are America the Beautiful Quarters questions asked and Mr. Moy’s answers from the forum (transcribed as accurately as possible by a CoinNews Media Group staff member for parent site, http://www.coinnews.net/):
US Mint Coin Forum: Questions and Answers About America the Beautiful Quarters
Q: Will you be publicizing the release dates of the America the Beautiful Quarter? The actual releases… I realize they’re being made for many years, I’m not talking about five years, I’m just interested year by year, knowing ahead of time as opposed to three days ahead of time.
Mr. Moy Answer: Let’s see. Let me give you a little bit of background, for those people who don’t know about our America the Beautiful Quarters program. First off, the vast majority of the coins that we make and the first time they tried to do rotating designs was the State Quarter program, that was very, very successful. As a matter of fact, we probably made three times as many quarters than we normally need for circulation, because so many were collecting them. The last several surveys that we did showed 147 million people were collecting those state quarters.
It was very, very successful, and when you have banks ordering basically 300% of what they normally order, and I’m making 14¢ on every quarter, we probably put about 5 or 6 billion dollars into taxpayers hands, via the quarter program. Congress said this was a very, very successful program and we want to continue it. So they continued it first by extending the State program to the District of Columbia and territories.
So in 2009, there are five territories and the District of Columbia, and then they passed a law saying we want to continue the State Quarter Program and do the America the Beautiful and we’ll honor a National Park or National Site in each state. [That’s] the reason why it’s been so difficult getting an order out is when you go by the order that they came into the union so it was very set, there was no disagreement that Wisconsin came in 1848 there’s no dispute about that plus when you deal with parks, you have to select the parks first.
And so every state had to pick what park or site we wanted to honor. And so with that you’ve got to figure out when that park really became a national park or site. Was it when it became a state park or was it when the federal government took control of it. So you had to work out all those issues. And those issues were finally worked out in late fall of last year. And so we recently put together a list of the five parks that we’ve come up with for every single year and put them on line. You should be able to get to our website to get that, because we would’ve listed all of that. And we also did the extended bookmarks, which we didn’t bring with us today, but if you give us your card, we’ll be able to send one to you.
Q: Have you set the actual dates?
Mr. Moy Answer: No, but we have the sequence that they’re going in.
Q: Give me the dates, because some of us are going on vacation and maybe would want to schedule our vacation around the release date, I’m assuming they’re going to be released at the park.
A: Yes. And there’s a further factor. It normally takes us about 18 months from the passage of legislation to coins rolling off the press. And congress got this passed in January 2009, or somewhere in there, so they gave us 12 months to get this up and running, and it’s a complicated program, from what I’ve just described. And so everything got kind of squished.
The bottom line is the first one, which is Hot Springs, Arkansas, will likely be the third week in April. And you take a look at the four more quarters that come after that, and we’re squishing them over eight months. Once we determine those dates, we’re getting a little more hipper, so we’re starting a Facebook page that will focus exclusively on the America the Beautiful quarters program, so once we work out a date with the park of when to do it, instead of a press release, if you then become a Facebook friend then you’ll be getting instant notices from that.
I can’t give you a specific dates because we haven’t got specific dates worked out with all the parks yet because a lot of it is also working out with the park ranger, what is best for them. So we’ve got the early ones, you know, but we don’t have the second, three four and five. So I can’t give you dates that haven’t been set.
Q: This reminds me of when they came out with the Washington quarter in 1932, you had one other design by Laura Fraser…
Mr. Moy Answer: Yes, it was gorgeous.
Q: Yes, the fine arts commission liked that quarter design but it seems that Andrew Mellon wanted the design by John Flanagan, he chose because it was the end of his career, and Mellon wanted to do something that was…
A: And there was a little bit of male chauvinism going on, and I don’t know what the real information was but the woman’s design was not chosen and I’ve seen the plasters of that and they’re absolutely gorgeous. One consciousness decision that I’ve made after having the ultra high relief gold coin created was I don’t want to continually to go back to the well for old designs. Now I want to put the past behind us so our artists can focus on new designs that reflect the 21st century feel on it.