Five circulation-quality 2012-S America the Beautiful quarters will be sold by the U.S. Mint beginning June 21, according to U.S. Mint Director of Public Affairs Tom Jurkowsky.
The coins honor El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Acadia National Park in Maine, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Denali National Park in Alaska.
They will be sold to the public in 100-coin bags and 40-coin rolls at face value with a nominal premium added. The coins will not be sold to the Federal Reserve as are the 2012 regular circulating coins from Philadelphia and Denver.
The San Francisco Mint, which celebrated its 75th year on May 15, will mint 1.4 million of each design for a total of 7 million coins.
“These are considered numismatic coins so they won’t affect our total circulating production numbers,” Jurkowsky said.
The “S” mintmark quarters will look the same as the quarters produced at the Denver and Philadelphia mints, Jurkowsky said. They will all be produced with dies created at the Denver Mint.
No special modifications to the San Francisco Mint’s Graebener vertical presses will be needed to coin the “S” mintmark quarters, Jurkowsky said, other than utilizing a coin slide and bin to collect the minted coins rather than the flat trays used for proof coins.
During a tour of the San Francisco Mint on May 16, press operator William Tan monitored a press minting 2012 Hawaii quarters.
The quarters are produced at a rate of 70 coins per minute. And even though these quarters were being manufactured to circulation quality specifications, they seemed to receive the same close attention that proof coins receive, right down to the white gloves Tan wore while handling the quarters.
The idea for producing a circulation quality coin from the San Francisco Mint came from listening to the public.
“We were looking for a new numismatic product with an ‘S’ mintmark. The feedback that we had received from customers was that there was always a great anticipation with products with an ‘S’ mintmark,” Jurkowsky said.
And it was felt that putting an “S” mintmark on America the Beautiful quarters would bring additional visibility to the ATB program, he said.
Because they are considered a numismatic product, they will be sold by the Mint like the 50-cent piece and $1 coins, he said.
Although the coins will not be sold to the Federal Reserve for national distribution, Jurkowsky said he expects the coins will make it into circulation as people who buy the coins and bags use them to make purchases.
Jurkowsky said no decision has been made as to whether the “S” mintmark quarters will continue in 2013.
“We will evaluate the program, see how this year goes, and then determine if we should continue,” he said.