The United States Mint is waiting until Friday, February 3, 2012 to make bags and rolls of the El Yunque National Forest Quarter available, even though the new quarters honoring Puerto Rico’s forest were released into general circulation two weeks earlier on Monday, January 23.
The good news is prices will be lower than last year’s products by several dollars. 100-coin bags of the 2012 dated quarters are now $34.95, compared to $49.95 for the 2011 bags, and the two-roll sets will be $32.95, which is down $7 from the previous $39.95 price. When the products go on sale, buyers can place their orders at http://www.usmint.gov/ or 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
As usual, 100-coin bags will have strikes from either the US Mint facility in Philadelphia or Denver, whichever the buyer selects. The two-roll set includes one $10 quarter roll from both facilities, so that a total of 80 quarters make up the rolls in the set.
Although it is possible that a few banks may have bags or rolls of new El Yunque quarters, they will be packaged differently as compared to how they are sold directly from the US Mint. The Mint prominently displays in black on a white background its logo and the national site’s name, "El Yunque National Forest," followed by the abbreviation for Puerto Rico, "PR." The face value of the coin product and either "P" or "D" to indicate Philadelphia or Denver as the mint of origin are also on the packaging. This packaging is attractive to some collectors while others simply care about having the coins for their collection.
The El Yunque National Forest Quarter is the first design for 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters® and the second forest to be honored in the quarters’ program. Mount Hood National Forest was first, and it was featured in 2010. The El Yunque quarter is the eleventh strike overall, out of a total of 56 that will be released between 2010 and 2021.
The design on the coin’s reverse incorporates two very emblematic species located in El Yunque’s tropical rainforest. A Coqui tree frog and a Puerto Rican parrot are featured amongst leaves and tropical flora. Inscriptions are EL YUNQUE, PUERTO RICO, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Other designs due in 2012 will feature 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.
Two products released by the US Mint in January contain the El Yunque quarters. They were the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set and the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set.
The next product out will be the El Yunque Quarter Three Coin Set on February 7. It will showcase three special strikes of the quarter: one proof from San Francisco, one uncirculated from Philadelphia, and one uncirculated from Denver. The three coins will be mounted on a durable plastic card that will have a brief description of the forest and the coin’s design. It will also include the US Mint’s Certificate of Authenticity.
Later in the year, the US Mint will launch more products with the El Yunque quarter. They will be the 2012 Proof Set, the 2012 Silver Proof Set, the 2012 Uncirculated Mint Set, the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Uncirculated Coin Set, and the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Circulating Coin Set.
The forest is located on the eastern side of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, and it spans 28,000 acres. Over one million visitors explore the forest per year via the multiple roads and scenic trails throughout the area. Many tours are offered that teach forest conservation.