Arkansas’ Hot Springs National Park will be the first national site honored by the new 56-design America the Beautiful quarters program that begins in 2010, the U.S. Mint said in a statement issued Sept. 9.
It will be followed by a circulating quarter for Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
There will be five designs issued each year in a manner similar to the state quarter program and the final design is currently scheduled to be issued in 2021.
Theme of the final quarter design will be the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.
The 56 issues include sites in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other American territories in addition to the 50 states.
“These new quarters will honor some of our most revered, treasured and beautiful national sites – majestic and historic places located throughout the United States and its territories that truly make us ‘America the Beautiful,’” U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy commented.
The final list of design themes was only approved by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner Aug. 25. He did so after consulting with the heads of the states and territories and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, whose department oversees the national parks.
Salazar said, “I am pleased that these new quarters will now celebrate America the Beautiful, the spectacular natural wonders that are found in our national parks, wildlife refuges and public lands.”
New Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios said, “The America the Beautiful series demonstrates our nation’s commitment to the legacy of conservation while celebrating its natural beauty.”
Even Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had a statement for the program’s debut. His department oversees the National Forest Service. Some national forests were chosen as themes because not all 56 states and territories have national parks within their borders.
The first national forest to be honored will be El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. This design will be the first issue of 2012.
On the obverse of the new quarter series will be “a restored version of the familiar 1932 portrait of George Washington, including subtle details and the beauty of the original model,” the Mint promises.
Collectors may sign up for roll sets and bags of the new coins through the Online Subscription Program on the U.S. Mint Web site at www.usmint.gov. Prices have not yet been set.
Editor's Note: A little known component of the America the Beautiful program will be 5-ounce bullion versions of each of the 56 designs struck in .999 fine silver and having a 3-inch diameter, which is twice the diameter of a silver dollar. So as not to displace the duplicated design, the statement of fineness and the weight will be incused on the edge of these large silver pieces. These coins will be sold as bullion coins. No further details were available at press time.
Arkansas - Hot Springs National Park
Wyoming - Yellowstone National Park
California - Yosemite National Park
Arizona - Grand Canyon National Park
Oregon - Mt. Hood National Forest
Pennsylvania - Gettysburg National Military Park
Montana - Glacier National Park
Washington - Olympic National Park
Mississippi - Vicksburg National Military Park
Oklahoma - Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Puerto Rico - El Yunque National Forest
New Mexico - Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Maine - Acadia National Park
Hawaii - Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Alaska - Denali National Park
New Hampshire - White Mountain National Forest
Ohio - Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial
Nevada - Great Basin National Park
Maryland - Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
South Dakota - Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Virginia - Shenandoah National Park
Utah - Arches National Park
Colorado - Great Sand Dunes National Park
Florida - Everglades National Park
Nebraska - Homestead National Monument of America
Louisiana - Kisatchie National Forest
North Carolina - Blue Ridge Parkway
Delaware - Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
New York - Saratoga National Historical Park
Illinois - Shawnee National Forest
Kentucky - Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
West Virginia - Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
North Dakota - Theodore Roosevelt National Park
South Carolina - Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument)
Iowa - Effigy Mounds National Monument
District of Columbia - Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Missouri - Ozark National Scenic Riverways
New Jersey - Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty)
Indiana - George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
Michigan - Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Wisconsin - Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Minnesota - Voyageurs National Park
Georgia - Cumberland Island National Seashore
Rhode Island - Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
Massachusetts - Lowell National Historical Park
Northern Mariana Islands - American Memorial Park
Guam - War in the Pacific National Historical Park
Texas - San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Idaho - Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness
American Samoa - National Park of American Samoa
Connecticut - Weir Farm National Historic Site
U.S. Virgin Islands - Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
Vermont - Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Kansas - Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Alabama - Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site