Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter

The 2011 Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter is the tenth coin in the America the Beautiful Quarter series, and the final for 2011. Capturing the tranquility of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in the state Oklahoma is a challenge for the United States Mint.

2011 Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter (US Mint image)
Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter - Click to Enlarge

A general circulation release date of November 14, 2011 is shown for the Chickasaw Quarters at which time the strikes will be available from local financial institutions through the Federal Reserve Bank system. The US Mint also plans to release the coins on that same date in bags and rolls for sale directly to the public. The bags will contain 100-circulation quality strikes from the buyer’s choice of the US Mint’s facility in Denver or the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia. The two-roll sets will contain one roll of forty circulation quality quarters from the Philadelphia facility and one roll of forty circulation quality quarters from the Denver facility.

The final design for the reverse of the Chickasaw Quarter was designed by AIP Master Designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz. It shows the Lincoln Bridge, a picturesque favorite location of visitors to the area. The bridge was dedicated in 1909 to celebrate the centennial of the birth of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

From the three 2011 America the Beautiful design candidates or proposals shown below that were created by the U.S. Mint, it was the second design, denoted as OK-02, that was eventually selected for the reverse of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter Design OK-01
2011 Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter Design OK-01 (Click to Enlarge)
Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter Design OK-02
2011 Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter Design OK-02 (Click to Enlarge)
Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter Design OK-03
2011 Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter Design OK-03 (Click to Enlarge)

Earlier in 2010, two government groups, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), reviewed each design and gave very different recommendations.

"For the coin portraying Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma, the committee preferred design OK-01, which features Buffalo Springs amid its stone spillway," the CCAC said in their review. "Members generally appreciated the perspective and composition of this design, particularly the foreground foliage. However, some members were concerned that the human figure would be so small as to be indistinct on the small scale of a coin."

The CFA, on the other hand, did not give a thumbs up to any of the drawings.

"The Commission did not recommend any of the alternatives, again commenting that the scale of the coin does not support detailed landscape depictions," Thomas E. Luebke, Secretary of the CFA, wrote in a release regarding the designs. "The Commission suggested further development and resubmission of the bridge featured in alternative #2 due to its distinctive form and symbolic representation of the site, while simplifying or eliminating the landscape setting."

The United States Mint announced the final 2011 America the Beautiful Quarter design on December 1, 2010. The ultimate decision, after recommendations were forwarded by the U.S. Mint Director, was made by the Treasury Secretary.

The coins’ obverse (heads side) will feature a restored version of the familiar 1932 portrait of George Washington.

Also issued by the US Mint and containing the same designs is the Chickasaw America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver.

Additional 2011 America the Beautiful Quarter releases for the year include:

Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma

Buffalo Spring in Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma (NPS Photo)
Buffalo Spring in Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma (NPS Photo) - Click to Enlarge

Chickasaw National Recreation Area is known for its fresh water, calming mineral springs, cool streams, and beautiful lakes. It is located in a partially forested area outside Sulphur, OK, which is about 80 miles south of Oklahoma City.

Established in 1902 through an agreement with the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indian Nations and the federal government, this area was originally called Sulphur Springs Reservation. Then in 1906 additional acreage was added, and the reservation was renamed and re-designated Platt National Park.

Most recently, in 1976, officials combined the park with the Arbuckle Recreation Area plus additional lands, and renamed it Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

A few highlights include the Travertine Nature Center and its live animal exhibits, over 20 miles of hiking trails such as the Rock Creek Multi-Use Trail, as well as hunting and fishing. Lake of the Arbuckles and the Lincoln Bridge in the Platt Historic District are also very popular spots within Chickasaw National Recreation Area.