The Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter was ceremoniously launched today, January 25, 2011, at an event co-hosted by the United States Mint and the National Park Service.
Representing the US Mint at the 2011 Gettysburg Quarter ceremony was US Mint Associate Director for Sales and Marketing B. B. Craig. Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Bob Kirby represented the Park Service with Barbara Finfrock, vice chair of the Gettysburg Foundation, serving as master of ceremonies. Additional appearances at the event included Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Manbeck Corbett and the Gettysburg High School Civil War Ceremonial Brass Band.
The official function began at 11 AM ET at the military park’s Museum and Visitor Center. Immediately following the ceremony, a coin exchange was offered where attendees could purchase rolls of the new strikes at face value. Children 18 and under who attended were given a free Gettysburg Quarter to remember their experiences at the event with.
"The America the Beautiful Quarters Program connects America to our national parks, forests, fish and wildlife refuges, and other national sites," said US Mint Associate Director for Sales and Marketing B.B. Craig. "The Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter commemorates the pivotal battle fought here in the American Civil War, and it recognizes Gettysburg’s special place among our revered and protected national treasures."
The Gettysburg National Park Quarter is the first of five 2011-dated strikes of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, and the sixth in the series which debuted last year. The coins honors Gettysburg National Military Park with a design on its reverse showing the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument found on the Union Battle Line of Cemetery Ridge within the park. Surrounding the image are the inscriptions of GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, 2011 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse was designed by Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
"We are happy to be honored with this beautiful quarter," Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Bob Kirby said. "The coin can be a daily reminder of the sacrifices made at Gettysburg and a great way to start a conversation about national parks, national heritage and the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War."
The national military park was established in 1895 to honor and commemorate the American Civil War Battle of Gettysburg and those who fought in it. Historians view the battle as incredibly important because it marked the turning point of the war which eventually resulted in a Union victory over the Confederate forces of the southern states. It also happened to be the bloodiest battle of the war with over 30,000 killed or wounded in action.
A few months after the battle, Gettysburg would once again become important to history as President of the United States Abraham Lincoln delivered his now famous Gettysburg Address. The short speech was given during a dedication ceremony for the Soldier’s National Cemetery found at Gettysburg.
The Gettysburg Quarters entered into circulation yesterday, January 24, 2011. Bags and rolls of the strikes will be available directly from the US Mint beginning on Thursday, January 27, 2011.
The United States Mint will also issue five ounce silver coins containing the same designs as found on the Gettysburg Quarter later this year. One, the 2011 Gettysburg National Military Park Silver Bullion Coin intended for investors and the other, the 2011 Gettysburg National Military Park Silver Uncirculated Coin for collectors. The US Mint currently has a "TBD" or To Be Determined Dates listed for the collector versions on its 2011 silver product schedule.
Also to be issued by the US Mint later this year are the remaining four 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters. These 2011 quarters will honor Glacier National Park of Montana, Olympic National Park of Washington, Vicksburg National Military Park of Mississippi and Chickasaw National Recreation Area of Oklahoma.