The fourth of this year’s five America the Beautiful Quarters was ceremoniously launched Tuesday by officials from the United States Mint and the National Park Service.
Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park Quarter was introduced into circulation on Monday, September 20, and on Tuesday, September 21, it received its official welcome at the National Park itself.
Take out the wind and the day could not have been better, as the ceremonial coin pour occurred before mostly sunny skies and a background of the Grand Canyon itself.
United States Mint Director Ed Moy and Steve Martin, Superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park, hosted the event on the scenic South Rim of the park between Hopi House and Verkamp’s Visitor Center.
The ceremony featured several additional speakers, including Arizona State Parks Director Renée Bahl, Sherry Henry, Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, and Historian Scott Thybony. Additionally, attendees were able to listen to Native American musician A. Brent Chase and watch the performances by the Pollen Trail Dancers, a local Native American troupe.
The 2010 Grand Canyon National Park Quarter features a reverse design by Phebe Hemphill depicting a view of the granaries above the Nankoweap Delta in Marble Canyon near the Colorado River, which were used for storing food and seeds. The scene is both historic and symbolic.
"We were thrilled when the Nankoweap granaries were chosen as the design for the reverse side," said Superintendent Martin. "The use of the granaries really seems to connect the coin and today’s event to the thousands of years of human history reflected in archeological sites throughout the canyon."
As mentioned, the Grand Canyon quarter is the fourth quarter-dollar issued this year. Through 2021, another 52 will be released at a rate of five per year. Each will celebrate and honor a specific national park or other national site within the US and its territories.
"The United States Mint is honored to be connecting America to its most significant natural treasures through the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program," Director Moy said during Tuesday’s ceremony. "The new Grand Canyon National Park quarter design echoes the ancient grandeur of this wondrous place."
Following the ceremony, Director Moy and other officials handed out free Grand Canyon quarters to children while adults were able to stand in line to exchange cash for $10 rolls of the coins that were provided by Chase Bank.
For those who could not attend and want the quarter-dollars for their collection, they will soon be entering daily change as they move from Federal Reserve Banks to local banks throughout the nation. Anyone interested may also purchase bags and rolls of the coins directly from the U.S. Mint’s website at http://www.usmint.gov/, or by calling the Mint directly at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
The next and final quarter for 2010 will be the Mt. Hood National Forest Quarter which is set for a November release. The first of the 2011 quarters is expected to follow in January or February. Design candidates for next year’s quarters have already been reviewed, but an announcement of the final five designs have yet to be announced.