by Lowell Knouff
The United States Mint wrapped up the 2016 America the Beautiful quarter program with the Nov. 17 launch of the Fort Moultrie quarter on the grounds of the 240-year-old Fort Moultrie facing the Charleston, S.C., harbor.
As always, the ceremony was attended by many area residents and about 200 fourth grade students from Sullivan Island’s Elementary School and Lamb’s Elementary School from North Charleston. A large number of home- schooled young people also attended the program.
After the speeches and the official pouring of the coins ceremony, each youth under the age of 18 was given a collectible Fort Moultrie quarter. Jean Gentry, United States Mint Chief Counsel, told the young people receiving the quarters to hold onto them so they can tell their children about the historic day as well as the historic event depicted on the coin.
After the ceremony representatives from Mt. Pleasant South State Bank exchanged over $23,000 worth of the new quarters for those wishing to purchase $10 rolls of the new Philadelphia quarters at face value.
The quarter depicts Sergeant William Jasper who during the Battle of Sullivan’s Island against the British on June 28, 1776, risked his life to retrieve the colors and replant the regimental flag on top of the fort with his fellow soldiers cheering him on. The Battle of Sullivan’s Island was the first and considered by many the most important battle in the history of the fort and it was one of the first decisive victories in the American Revolution.
Fort Moultrie is a unit of Fort Sumter National Monument, encompassing 171 years of coastal defensive history from the American Revolution through World War II. Fort Sumter is in the center of Charleston Harbor less than a mile from Fort Moultrie. Charleston, just across the harbor from Fort Moultrie, and Sullivan’s Island are recognized as the entry point for nearly half of captive Africans shipped to North America. A sweetgrass basket made by Angela Manigault was used for the symbolic coin pour to highlight the African-American heritage of this state.
Members of the Low Country Coin Club attended the launch ceremony and with the permission of the Mint officials used the time before and after the launch to promote the club and the upcoming February coin show, passing our wooden nickels and cards.
Trying to fit in with the historic mode of the event, Alex Gilchrist, a longtime club member, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a couple of characters from American History, dressed as Uncle Sam and posed for pictures with people young and old attending the event. It is possible some of the youth were more excited to see Uncle Sam than they were to receive the quarter passed out free of charge by the Mint officials.
The Fort Moultrie quarter is the 35th coin to be released in the America the Beautiful series of quarters.
The Mint will continue to release five America the Beautiful Quarters each year depicting National Parks and other national sites, ending with a single quarter release in 2021.
The evening before the quarter release ceremony, the U.S. Mint held a coin forum at the Fort Moultrie theater. It was open to anyone interested in the Mint. Jean Gentry spoke about the Mint operation and a Fort Moultrie representative gave a briefing on the history of the fort.
Low Country Coin Club has been active in Charleston since 1960. Information about the club can be found at www.lowcountrycoinclub.com or on Facebook at Low Country Coin Club.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.
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