Search This Blog

Thursday, 21 June 2012

70) America The Beautiful Quarters (3): Quarters released in 2012:


70) America The Beautiful Quarters (3):
 Quarters released in 2012:


The undernoted two images are of a Proof set of the five Quarters released by the U.S. Mint in 2012, gifted  for my collection by Rupak and brought all the way from Charleston,USA, by my brother-in-law Mr. Dipak Mukherjee, who was visiting his son Rupak's family during the summer holidays.




This coin set has been minted at the San Francisco mint. Notice the "S" Mint mark below the motto "In God We Trust".  
 
The Obverse designer and sculptor/engraver like on the coins issued in the earlier years under the programme is  John Flanagan.




The reverse of the above set, shows the designs/engravings on El Yunque, National Forest (Puerto Rico),Chaco Cultural Historic National Park (New Mexico),Acadia National Park (Maine), Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii) and Denali National Park (Alaska).

The specifications of this coin set are :
 Composition: 8.33% nickel, balance copper. 
Weight: 5.67 gms. 
Diameter: 24.30 mm or 0.955 inch: 
edge: reeded. 
Mint:  San Francisco (Mint Mark "S") Proof coins set.



The above is an image of the reverse of five uncirculated quarters included in a set of 14 uncirculated coins issued by the Philadelphia Mint (mint mark "P") on the obverse (conspicuous by the blue colour of the album), which is part of a 28 coin set, which also includes a similar set minted at denver Mint (mint mark "D", conspicuous by the red colour of the album containing the coins). The specifications of these uncirculated five quarters is the same as the quarters contained in the Proof sets.


1)      El Yunque National Forest:  

The El Yunque National Forest quarter is the first quarter to be issued in 2012 and is the 11th to be issued under America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme. The forest was included as a National site on 17th January 1903.

El Yunque National Forest is situated in Puerto Rico and is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system. It is spread over 28000 acres and is popular for its tropical climate throughout the year and its immense bio-diversity. Historically, it was designated as a forest region by King Alfonso XII of Spain. On January 1903, it was known as the “Luquillo Forest Reserve” and in 1906 it was declared as a National Forest. Later, on 4th June 1935, it was renamed as “Caribbean National Forest”.  On 2nd April 2007, it was again renamed as the” El Yunque National Forest”.

 The forest has several nature trails which are very popular among more than 1 million visitors who come to visit it every year from around the globe.


The reverse of this coin shows a Puerto Rican parrot sitting on an epiphyte plant with tropical flora in the background. Also seen on this face of the coin is a Coqui tree frog, which is shown sitting on a leaf. 
 On the coin’s periphery are the inscriptions: “EL YUNQUE” “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (Out of Many One) and “PUERTO RICO”. The year of issue 2012 is at the bottom below the picture. 
 This forest has been identified for featuring on this coin, as Puerto Rico’s only National Park service site – San Juan has featured on the “District of Columbia and United States Territories Quarters”  in 2009. The initials of the designer “GW” (Gary Whitley) and sculptor/engraver “MG” (Michael Gaudioso) are placed on the lower side of the design.

El Yunque has primarily four different forest vegetation areas: Tabonuco Forest, Palo Colorado Forest, Sierra Palm Forest and Dwarf Forest. El Yunque has a vast variety of animal and plant life with different species surviving on different altitudes in the rain forests. The Forest has over 200 species of trees and plants.

The great amount of competition in the canopy does not allow lower level plants to develop and prosper. 

The epiphyte (meaning a plant which grows on another plant – usually restricted to those who do not derive nutrition from other plants) mostly grows on trees which have a widened tree trunk which is an ideal location for these plants, which by definition require a host to live on. As such, a substantial amount of epiphytic plants have cemented their existence in the flora of El Yunque especially in the Dwarf Forest due to the moisture, precipitation and protection from the sun.

The Puerto Rican Parrot has been chosen for this coin, because it is an endangered species and is unique only to Puerto Rico. The El Yunque Forest cover offers the parrot a luxurious cover in which the species it now breeding and staging a recovery in its numbers.
There are 15 species of Coqui, members of the diverse Neotropical frog genus “Eleutherodactylus” found in Puerto Rico, out of which at least 13 species abound in the El Yunque National Forest. This small frog depicted on the quarter is the most common Coqui species (Eleutherodactylus coqui) and is very popular with the Puerto Ricans particularly because of its call throughout the night.

2)      Chaco Culture National Historical Park:

The Chaco Culture National Historical Park quarter is the second quarter to be issued in 2012 and the 12th overall in the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme.  This park was established as a National site on 11th March 1907. 

This park is located in New Mexico and has the Chaco Canyon which was a major centre of Puebloan culture between 850 and 1200 AD. The Park contains sites which once belonged to the Pueblo Indian people of New Mexico, the Hopi Indians of Arizona and the Navajo Indians of the Southwest, which have also, been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. 

Chaco Canyon was the culture centre of a system of communities linked by road and trading networks across 40000 square miles in the Four Corners Area.
Chaco Canyon houses several multi-storied buildings known as the “Great Houses”, enormous circular ceremonial subterranean structures called “great Kivas” and several pictographs and petroglyphs. 

The Chacoan people combined well thought of architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, land-scaping and engineering to create an ancient urban centre of amazing architecture.  

 The principal Chacoan complexes i.e. Pueblo Bonito, Neuvo Alto and Kin Kletso have elevations of 1900 to 1950 metres. One of the smallest of  the Great  Houses is called “ Casa Chiquita” which lacks the open plazas and separate kivas found in several other Great Houses, while one of the oldest Great Houses is “Una Vida” meaning “One Life” having two stories and 124 rooms.

Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and carted timber over large distances, assembling 15 major complexes which were the largest buildings in North America until the nineteenth century. Many Chacoan buildings were aligned to capture the lunar and solar cycles, which took generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction. A popular example of the Chacoan knowledge of archaeoastronomy  is the “Sun Dagger” petroglyph at “Fajada Butte”.

Climate change is thought to have led to the abandonment of the canyon, which started after 1130 A.D. or thereabouts.

The Central portion of the canyon contained the largest Chacoan complexes. The most studied is “Pueblo Bonito” covering almost 2 acres and comprising more than 650 rooms, which is the largest of the Great Houses and in some portions is four stories high. 

Chetro Ketl, located near Pueblo Bonito, bears the typical “D” shape of many other central complexes, but is slightly smaller.  It house 450-550 rooms which shared one kiva.

 


The reverse of this coin shows a view of two elevated kivas that are part of the Chetro Ketl Complex. The design on this coin also has the north wall of Chetro Ketl and the North wall of the canyon. 
On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “CHACO CULTURE”, “NEW MEXICO”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2012”. The initials of the designer “PH” (Phebe Hall) and sculptor/engraver “DW” (Donna Weaver) are placed on the lower side of the design.

In the Canyon, are also found dense forests of oak, pirion, ponderosa pine and juniper and lowlands surrounded by dune fields, ridges and mountains and flat massifs known as mesas. The canyon also has coyotes, mule, deer, elk, pronghorn, bobcats, badgers, foxes, skunks, prairie dogs among others. Several birds, including Road Runners, hawks, owls, vultures, ravens, sparrows, house finches, humming birds, etc. are a Bird Watcher’s delight.


3)      Acadia National Park:

The Acadia National Park quarter is the third quarter to be issued in 2012 and the 13th overall under the “America and the Beautiful Quarters” Programme .The Acadia National Park is located in Maine, USA.  It is situated on Mount Desert Island and some smaller islands off the Atlantic coast. The Park consists of over 47000 acres (73 sq.miles).

 In 1604, this area was inhabited by the Wabanaki people.  On 8th July 1916, it was established as Sieur de Monts National Monument, administered by the National Park Service. 

Later, in 1919 it was created as the “Lafayette National Park” and was the first National Park East of the Mississippi. Then again, on 19th January 1929, it was renamed as the “Acadia National Park”. The Park attracts over 2 million visitors every year.

 The landscape of the park is composed of a few mountains having fir, birch and pine trees and bare-rock summits. The park has been landscaped by Charles Elliot. Visitors who come to Acadia have an opportunity to hike over granite peaks, bike on historic carriage roads and view the spectacular scenery. 

This park is home to the tallest mountain on the US Atlantic Coast. “Cadillac Mountain “(named after a French Explorer), is one of the first places that catches the sunrise in the USA, while the inlet “Somes Sound” is considered to be the only fjord on the East Coast. 

The Park shelters some 40 different species of mammals including chipmunks, foxes, gray squirrels, coyotes, beavers, mooses, white-tailed deer and black bears.  

 Aspen, birch, alder, maple and other deciduous trees enable beavers to survive, which had been driven to near-extinction in the Forest after the great fire.




The reverse of this coin depicts a view of the Bass Harbour Head Lighthouse and Acadia’s rough coast-line along the Atlantic Ocean. Also, in the background of the Lighthouse are Pine trees which are found in abundance in the Forest. On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “ACADIA”, “MAINE”, the motto on the Great Seal of the USA “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (Out of Many One) and the year of issue “2012”. The initials of the designer (BF) Barbara Fox and sculptor/engraver “JFM” (Joseph F. Menna) are on the lower side of the coin design.

From 1915 to 1933, John D. Rockfeller  set up a network of carriage trails throughout the Park, covering over 50 miles (80 km.) of gravel carriage trails, granite bridges, gate lodges, cut granite as guard rails or “coping stones” to negotiate the steep climb etc. 

To celebrate the Park’s centenary in 2016, the National Park Service has created a project to promote voluntary multi-modal park access for visitors to protect the Forest from environmental degradation.   A carbon neutral approach has been adapted to a large extent and travelling by foot or bicycle is encouraged.  The number of vehicles inside the park is consequently reduced.

4)      Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park quarter is the fourth quarter to be issued in 2012 and the 14th overall under the “America and the Beautiful Quarters” Programme.  It was established as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on 1st August 1916. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the most fascinating biological landscapes in the World and encompasses 330000 acres from the summit of Mauna Loa to the Sea. 

 The Hawaiian Archipelago located more than 2000 miles from the nearest Continent and is geographically the most isolated group of islands on Earth. The park has over 150 miles of hiking trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rainforests. The Park also has a museum and petroglyphs.

This Park exhibits the results of 70 million years of volcanism and evolution processes whereby land emerged out of the Sea, creating a unique ecosystem.  The Park was created to preserve the natural setting of “Kilauea” (the Earth’s most active volcano) and “Mauna Loa” (the Earth’s most massive volcano).

The Mauna Loa and the Kilauea volcanoes are two of the most well known volcanoes on Earth. The chance to witness the primal process of creation and destruction make this park a very popular tourist attraction and the volcanoes are traditionally considered to be the sacred home of the Volcano Goddess Pele and as a corollary, a sacred place for native Hawaiians who offer gifts to the goddess.

Both volcanoes release more fluid and less gaseous eruptions, which produce fiery fountains and rivers of molten lava”, (which has resulted in a desert-like volcanic landscape within the National Park area), while the Kilauea is also known as the World’s “only drive-in volcano”, having a walk – in lava tube called the "Thurston Lava tube" (after a family which was one of the driving forces for establishment of the Park).

 A measure of its daily eruption can be gauged by the fact that it emits 250000 to 650000 cubic yards of lava per day, enough to resurface a 20 mile long, two lane road daily. A chance to watch Kilauea’s lava flow meeting the sea is a fantastic experience. Kilauea has been a tourist attraction since the 1840s.




The reverse of this coin shows an eruption on the East Rift of Kilauea Volcano and captures the beauty and awe of the Volcano in full flow. On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “HAWAII VOLCANOES”, “HAWAII”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2012”. The initials of the designer “CLV” who is the sculptor/engraver also, “(Charles L. Vickers) is on the lower right side of the coin design. 

The Park has been named a World Biosphere site (International Biosphere Reserve) by UNESCO in 1980 and in 1987 it was declared a World Heritage site. 
   A quarter resceived in general circulation, inscribed the "Hawaii         Volcanoes".
5)      Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska):

The Denali National Park and Preserve quarter is the fifth quarter to be issued in 2012 and the 15th overall in America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme.

 This Park was first established as a National site to protect wildlife on 26th February 1917. The Park was originally called Mount McKinley National Park. Mount McKinley (named after President William McKinley in 1897) is the tallest mountain in North America standing at about 20,320 ft high. Denali means “the high one” in the native Athabaskan language and refers to the mountain itself. 

The Park was designated as an international biosphere reserve in 1976.
Later, in 1980, the Park was expanded from 2 to 6 million acres, including preserve lands and its name changed to Denali National Park and Preserve. The longest glacier is the Kalhiltna glacier. The park and the preserve together cover about 9500 miles. 

Denali habitat is a mix of forest at the lowest elevations, including deciduous taiga. The preserve is home to Tundra at middle elevations and snow at the highest elevations.

 Archeological evidence reveals that thousands of years ago, Alaska’s inhabitants roamed this Forest area hunting large mammals, fishing and gathering wood and plants for food and survival. These included Native Americans including the Koyukon, Denaina, Athna, Kolchan, Tanana and Athabaskans. 

 Thousands of years ago, grassland was abundant and mammoths roamed the Mammoth Steppe to graze. 
187 cultural sites are historic reminders of Denali’s past, 84 of which are pre-historic. 

More than half a million visitors come to the Park to see the wildlife, mountaineering, and for back-packing. In the winters dog-sledding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling is popular in permitted areas.

The Park has a dynamic glaciated landscape which supports a wide range of wildlife like grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, Dall sheep and Moose etc. 

Smaller animals such as hoary marmots, arctic ground squirrels, beavers, pikas, snowshoe hares are found in abundance, while foxes, wolverines, martens and lynx are also found, though rarely seen owing to their shy nature.

Denali is also a bird-watchers delight, with waxwings, Arctic warblers, pine grosbeaks, wheatears, Ptarmigan, tundra swan, hawks, owls, gyrfalcon and golden eagles being found in the Park among others. Several varieties of fishes, including trout, salmon and arctic grayling are also found in the Preserve waters, apart from the wood frog. 


The reverse of this coin shows a Dall sheep with Mount McKinley setting up an imposing background. 

69) America The Beautiful Quarters (2): Quarters issued by the U.S. Mint (2011):


69) America The Beautiful Quarters (2):
 Quarters issued by the U.S. Mint (2011):

The following five quarters were released by the US Mint in 2011:



The above is a collection of 14 uncirculated coins issued by the US Mint at Denver , (Mint mark "D", below the motto "In God We Trust" on all five quarters given here) which shows the obverse of five quarters . The obverse shows a portrait of George Washington and is designed by John Flanagan.




The reverse of these five quarters, included in the set and explained in detail below.

 The Composition of all these five quarters is: 8.33% nickel, balance copper. Weight: 5.67 gms. Diameter: 24.30 mm or 0.955 inch: edge: reeded. Mints: Philadelphia (P), Denver (D) Uncirculated coins .

1)      Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania):

The Gettysburg National Military Park is the first quarter to be issued in 2011 and is the sixth overall in the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme. The battle of Gettysburg, which ended with a Union Victory in the summer of 1863, and blunted Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North, was a turning point in the American Civil War. The battle was one of the most fiercely fought by both sides resulted in more than 51000 casualties. 

On 19th November 1863, Abraham Lincoln travelled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to attend the dedication of a cemetery. A famous orator of the day Edward Everett was to deliver the principal oration, but the President was requested to make a few brief remarks.

 His remarks have gone down in history as the classic Gettysburg Address:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

(I have taken this address from a book titled “Abraham Lincoln speaks” issued by the US Information Service, which was in my late father’s library and had inspired me during my early years).

In 1864, shortly afterwards, the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, a group of concerned citizens, got the battlefield preserved as a memorial to the Union troops who fought here. The park has several monuments and memorials, many of them placed by veterans of the battle. 

The Park was transferred to the Federal Government as Gettysburg National Military Park on 11th February 1895.


The reverse of this coin depicts the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument, which is located on the battle line of the Union Army at Cemetery Ridge. A cannon and an infantryman fighting with his musket after discharging his shot are a grim reminder of the fiercely fought battle and a tribute to the brave men who fought to defend the ideals they stood for and immortalized in Lincoln’s address. 

On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “GETTYSBURG”, “PENNSYLVANIA”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2011”. The initials of the designer “JI” (Joel Iskowitz) and sculptor/engraver “PH” (Phebe Hemphill) are placed on the lower section of the design.
 In 1936, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (1863-1868), the above half dollar coin was issued. On one face were a Union and Confederate soldiers standing together in memory of their comrades who had fought valiantly that day. On this face, the peripferal inscriptions are " United States of America, Blue and Gray Reunion". On the other face is mentioned "75th anniversary - 1863-1938. Battle of Gettysburg" and the year of issue 1936 is inscribed together with the words "Half dollar".

2)      Glacier National Park (Montana):


The Glacier National Park quarter is the second quarter to be issued in 2011 and the seventh overall in the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme. 

 The Park was recognized as a National Reserve on 22nd February 1897. Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada – the two Parks are known as the “Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park” (the World’s first International Peace Park) in 1932 and were designated by the United Nations as “Biosphere Reserves” in 1976. They were declared World Heritage sites in 1995.


The Park is located in Montana and has got its name from its predominantly glacier –carved terrain and remnant glaciers dating back to the ice age of some 10000 years ago.  The spectacular and breathtaking scenery of the Park can be attributed to glacial forces, pre-historic seas, geologic faults and other forces of Nature.
 Known to the “Blackfeet” and the “Flatfoot” (both Native Americans tribes living in this Area) as the “Backbone of the World”, Glacier National Park boasts of more than one million acres of forests, alpine meadows. Lakes, rugged peaks and glacially carved valleys in the Northern Rocky Mountains. 

The park encompasses  over 10,00,000 acres or about 4000 square kms and includes two mountain ranges (sub-mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains), more than 130 named lakes  and several unnamed water bodies, and over 1000 species of plants and several varieties of animals.  A large portion of the Park covers a pristine ecosystem which is called the “Crown of the Continent Ecosystem”. 

Glacier National Park has almost all the endemic plant and animal species viz., Grizzly Bears, mountain goats, wolverines, lynx, and birds like the Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, hawks etc. abound. Its numerous eco-systems range from the prairie to tundra and forests of red cedar and hemlock.  
 There are six mountains in the Park, with Mount Cleaveland being the tallest (at about 10470 feet). Another interesting formation called the “Triple Peak Divide Peak” sends water towards the Pacific Ocean, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Mexico watersheds. 

The Park has several Glaciers which are also feeling the “heat” of Global warming. The continuous melting of glaciers will no doubt reduce the aesthetic scenery that the Glaciers provide to visitors.




The reverse of this coin shows a classic view of the Northeast slope of Mount Reynolds towering in the distance. In the foreground is a mountain goat standing on the rocky slopes of the Park’s high country.

On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “GLACIER”, “MONTANA”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2011”. The initials of the designer “BF” (Barbara Fox) and sculptor/engraver “CLV” (Charles L. Vickers) are placed on the lower section of the design.

3)      Olympic National Park (Washington):


  The Olympic National Park Quarter is the third quarter to be issued in 2011 and the eighth overall in the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme.  

   The Forest was established as a National site on 22nd February 1897 and turned into a National Monument in 1909. In 1938 it was designated as a National Park and in 1976, it was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve.  Later, in 1981, it was further designated as a World Heritage site.

  Olympic National Park is located in Washington, in the Olympic Peninsula. The Park has four different Regions – the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the West side temperate rainforest and the forests of the drier East side.

   The Park covers almost one million acres and has several tides - pools, glacier - capped peaks and covers more than seventy miles of Pacific Ocean beaches It consists of coastline, rugged peaks, meadows, lakes, scattered forests and steep forested slopes leading to several valleys. Almost 95% of the Park has been designated as the “Olympic Wilderness”. The Park is home to intact eco-systems having several plants and several varieties of animals.  The Park has several hiking trails and roads which do not penetrate deep into the interiors of the Park. One can also backpack along the beach. 

  In the centre of the Park are the Olympic Mountains whose sides and ridgelines are topped by ancient glaciers. The western half of the Range is dominated by the peak of Mount Olympus (about 8000 feet high) which receives a large amount of snow. There are several glaciers on this side, the largest one being the Hoh Glacier, which is nearly five km. in length which is at the source of the Hoh River. The tallest summit in this area is Mount Deception (almost 7800 feet high). The Western side of the Park has a temperate Rain Forest, including the Hoh Rain Forest and Quinault Rain Forest.





The reverse of this coin exhibits a Roosevelt elk standing on a gravel river bar of the Hoh River with a view of Mount Olympus in the background.

On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “OLYMPIC”, “WASHINGTON”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2011”. The initials of the designer “SG” (Susan Gamble) and sculptor/engraver “MG” (Michael Gaudioso) are placed on the lower section of the design.

4)      Vicksburg National Military Park (Mississippi):

The Vicksburg National Military Park quarter is the fourth quarter to be issued in 2011 and the ninth overall in the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme. Vicksburg National Military Park was established as a National site on 21st February 1899 to commemorate the siege and defence of Vicksburg. The Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 16th October 1966.

The Park commemorates one of the crucial battles of the American Civil War – the campaign, siege, and defence of Vicksburg, Mississippi from 18th May to 4th July 1863. Surrender by the opposing forces on 4th July 1863, together with the fall of Port Hudson, La., was a decisive victory, giving control of the Mississippi River to the Union Forces. The museum exhibits at the Park recall the hardships of civilians and soldiers during the devastating 47 day long siege of the city. The Park also commemorates the greater Vicksburg campaign, which preceded the battle.

The Park has more than 1350 monuments, a National cemetery and the restored Union ironclad gunboat, the U.S.S. Cairo, which was the first warship to be sunk on the Yazoo River on 12th December 1862 by an electronically detonated torpedo, which brought in a new phase of naval warfare and which was salvaged in 1964. The Park also showcases the Grant Canal site where the Union Army attempted to build a canal to let their ships elude Confederate artillery fire. The Cairo is also nicknamed the “Hardluck Ironclad” because of its unfortunate end. 

The Park has reconstructed forts and 20 miles of trenches, which keep alive the memories of the 47 – day long siege. It also has 144 cannon.


The reverse of this coin shows an artistic impression of the U.S.S. Cairo on the Yazoo River as it would have been seen while in active service of the U.S. Navy during the Civil War with all its guns at the ready in the gun ports and the Ironclad forging full steam ahead, ready to do battle, flying the Union Flag.

On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “VICKSBURG”, “MISSISSIPPI”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2011”. The initials of the designer “TC” (Thomas Cleveland) and sculptor/engraver “JFM” (Joseph Menna) are placed on the lower section of the design.

5)      Chickasaw National Recreation Area:


The Chickasaw National Recreation Area quarter is the fifth quarter to be issued in 2011 and is the 10th overall in the America and the beautiful quarters Programme. The Park was established as a National site on 1st July 1902. Chickasaw National Recreational Area protects some forested hills of South –Central Oklahoma, near Sulphur.  The Park was initially established as “Sulphur Springs Reservation” on 1st July 1902, redesignated as “Platt National Park” on 29th June 1906, combined with the Arbuckle Recreation Area” and additional lands and renamed and redesignated on 17th March 1976. The Park now covers about 10000 acres of property, out of which water covers about 2500 acres.

The Park was founded to commemorate the Chickasaw Nation, an Indian tribe, who were relocated to this area from the South-Eastern United States during 1830s. They later sold the original 640 acres of land for the Park to the Federal Government, with the proviso that the Park authorities/management should not charge any admission fee for visitors/guests. 

The Park focuses on protecting and interpreting its cultural history, including that of the Chickasaw Nation, historic landscapes and structures and to provide for public education, appreciation and recreational use and enjoyment of those resources. The Park secures the protection of the Area’s unique resources, springs, streams, lakes and other natural features.

The park contains several Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) architecture, particularly pavilions, park buildings and enclosures to the park’s natural springs.


The reverse of this coin depicts the Lincoln Bridge, built of limestone and dedicated in 1909 to celebrate the birth centenary of Abraham Lincoln. This bridge was the first constructed improvement in the National Recreation area and a popular scenic spot.

On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “CHICKASAW”, “OKLAHOMA”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2011”. The initials of the designer “DW” (: Donna Weaver) and sculptor/engraver “JL” (Jim Licaretz) are placed on the lower section of the design.

   A quarter received in general circulation, depicting the Lincoln Bridge.

68) America The Beautiful Quarters (1): Quarters issued by the US Mint in 2010 :


68) America The Beautiful Quarters (1):
 Quarters issued by the U.S. Mint (2010):

Commencement of the America the Beautiful Quarters Programme (2010):

After the successful completion of and popularity gained by the “50 State Quarters and the 2009 D.C. & the 5 U.S. Territories Quarters Programme” which converted nearly half of the USA population into active or passive coin collectors and made them aware of/take pride in each State’s heritage/history/icons, the US Mint was authorized by Congress to embark on a similar Programme, where quarters would be issued celebrating/commemorating  National Parks and National sites in the USA under the “America The Beautiful Quarters” programme.  In all, 56 National Parks and National sites have been identified to be honoured.  

 The Programme requires that the coin reverse be emblematic and “honor the national park or other national site in each host jurisdiction deemed most appropriate in terms of natural or historic significance”. The Programme is authorized under the America and the beautiful Quarters National Quarter Dollar Coin Act, 2008.

The Programme got off to a enthusiastic response with three US Mints – San Francisco (mint mark “S”), issuing Proof coin/sets, Denver (mint mark “D”) issuing uncirculated and circulating coins/ sets and Philadelphia (mint mark “P”) issuing uncirculated and circulating coins/ sets for collectors. In addition the quarters are being released as circulating coins for daily use. 

The series features five different designs to be releases every year beginning 2010. The Programme is to continue until at least 2021. The series may be extended thereafter upon assessing the success of the Programme upto 2033 to cover more National Parks and National Sites.

I have started collecting these America and the Beautiful Quarters sets ab initio from 2010 onwards and propose  to collect all the coins issued under this series. In a way, collecting these coins has made me aware of the Parks and the heritage/history covered by these coins, not to mention the enormous effort put in by the designers of each individual coin and the sculptors/engravers who have given us these beautiful mementos as timeless keepsakes for our collections.

The following five quarters were released by the US Mint in 2010:


The above is a collection of 14 uncirculated coins issued by the US Mint Philadelphia, (Mint mark "P", below the motto "In God We Trust" on all five quarters given here) which shows the obverse of five quarters . The obverse shows a portrait of George Washington and is designed by John Flanagan.


 The reverse of these five quarters, included in the set and explained in detail below.

 The Composition of all these five quarters is: 8.33% nickel, balance copper. Weight: 5.67 gms. Diameter: 24.30 mm or 0.955 inch: edge: reeded. Mints: Philadelphia (P), Denver (D) Uncirculated coins .
 
1)      Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas):

The Hot Springs National Park quarter is the first quarter of 2010 and has the privilege of being the first quarter to kick off the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme in 2010. It was identified for being the first quarter in “America and the beautiful Quarters series” because it is the oldest Federal Reserve. 

The Hot Springs were known to several Native American tribes for thousands of years and one of the first Europeans to reach it was the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541. In 1804, the Dunbar – Hunter Expedition was sent by President Thomas Jefferson to locate the Hot Springs near which were located pre-historic American Indian quarries. Later, a town came up around the hot springs to provide health services and therapy. Still later Hot Springs was established as a National site on 20th April 1832. 

The Hot Springs Reservation was set aside for public use as a park on 16th June 1880 and was made a National Park on 4th March 1921, with a focus on conserving the water from the 47 springs that come out of the Hot Springs Mountain and to ensure that water was made available for drinking and therapy. 

It is the smallest National Park in the USA having an area of about 900 acres only. The Hot Springs flow from the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain which is part of the Ouachita Mountain Range. The springs are all grouped around the base of the Hot Springs Mountain, discharging over half a million gallons of water daily. 

The Hot springs have not been preserved in their natural state, instead they have been managed artificially to conserve the emanating hot water for the visitors, who have been bathing in these waters for over two centuries, taking advantage of its therapeutic properties/qualities. 

The entire Bathhouse Row area is, itself, a National Historic Landmark district containing the grandest collection of bathhouses of its kind in Northern America, including that styled in the Golden Age architecture.

The Northern slopes of the ridges and basins provide a habitat for deciduous forest dominated by oak and hickory. Pines are found abundantly on the Southern side of the ridges.  The Forest provides shelter to Coyotes, Raccoon, American Mink, frogs, nine banded Armadillo, squirrels, rabbits, Opossum, Foxes and migratory birds following the Mississippi Flyway, among others.

The park attracts over 4 to 5 million visitors annually.


The quarter’s reverse design shows the fa├žade of the Hot Springs National Park Headquarters building with a thermal fountain in the foreground. The headquarters building itself has a fascinating architecture, having been built in the Spanish colonial revival style and completed in 1936. The National Service emblem is shown on the right of the door, when one faces the coin.

      On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “HOT SPRINGS”, “ARKANSAS”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2010”. The initials of the designer “DE” (Don Everhart) and sculptor/engraver “JFM” (Joseph Menna) are placed on the lower portion of the design.

2)      Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming):

The Yellowstone National Park Quarter is the second quarter of 2010 and the second overall in the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme. It was established as a National site on 1st March 1872. The Park has an extra-ordinary collection of the World’s most amazing geysers. Native Americans lived here for more than 11000 years. 

 Yellowstone National Park covers an area of about 3500 square miles. It has several lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America and is situated over the “Yellowstone Caldera”, the largest supervolcano on the continent. Half of the World’s geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by the volcanism of the caldera. The Park has one of the world’s largest petrified forests (trees which long ago were buried in ash and soil and transformed from wood to minerals. 

The Park sits atop the Yellowstone Plateau at about 8000 feet above sea-level, and is bounded on all sides by the mountain ranges of the Middle Rocky Mountains. The highest point in the park is Eagle Peak at 11,350 feet and the lowest point is along Reese Creek at 5300 feet.  The most prominent summit on the Yellowstone plateau is Mount Washburn at 10200 feet. There are 290 waterfalls, the highest being the “Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River” at over 300 feet. 

The Park is home to several varieties of Wildlife. Several species of animals, fishes and reptiles are found in this Park, the more well-known species being Grizzly Bears, wolves, bison, lynx, deer, mountain goat, pronghorn, elk and mountain lion. Interestingly, the park is home to the “Yellowstone Park Bison Herd” which is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the USA. 

Nearly 2 million visitors come to the Park annually. 
On the reverse of this coin is seen the “Old Faithful Geyser”, which is the most famous of all the geysers found in this Park, with a mature/full grown bull Bison in the foreground.


On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “YELLOWSTONE”, “WYOMING”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2010”. The initials of the designer and sculptor/engraver “DE” (Don Everhart) are placed on the lower portion of the design.
 The above is an image of a quarter received in general circulation exhibiting the above features.

3)  Yosemite National Park (California):

The Yosemite National Park quarter is the third quarter of 2010 and the third overall in the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme. The Park spans over Eastern sections of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in the Central Eastern portion of California. It is spread over 1200 square miles and is one of the first wilderness parks in the country. It was first established as a national site on 1st October 1890. It was designated as a World Heritage site in 1984.

Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves and bio-diversity. Almost 95% of the Park is designated wilderness. The Park offers rock-climbing, hiking, exploring and knowing about the natural and cultural history of Yosemite, walking around the Giant Sequoia groves among other activities. 

About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted which resulted in the mountain slopes, steep streams and river beds and deep canyons. About a million years ago, the glaciers formed in the location of the Park and sculpted a U-shaped valley which is a tourist attraction. It has several deep valleys, grand meadows and ancient giant sequoias and waterfalls. 

Almost all of the landforms in the Yosemite area are cut from the granite rock of the “Sierra Nevada Batholith”, (a batholiths is a large mass of intrusive igneous rock that formed below the Earth’s surface).

”El Capitan” is a prominent granite cliff that looms over the Yosemite Valley and is one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the World because of its diverse range of climbing routes, as well as accessibility throughout the year. Yosemite also has beautiful areas like the Tuolumne Meadows, Dana Meadows/Mountain, Clark Range, Cathedral range, Kuna Crest, Sierra crest, Pacific crest and granite peaks such as Mount Conness. Mount Lyell is the highest point in the park. The largest glacier is the Lyell Glacier and covers 160 acres.

Over 3.7 million visitors come to the Park annually.


The reverse of this coin depicts the “El Capitan” which is the largest granite monolith in the World and has a height of over 3000 feet above the valley floor where it is situated.

On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “YOSEMITE”, “CALIFORNIA”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2010”. The initials of the designer “JFM” (Joseph Menna) and sculptor/engraver “PH” (Phebe Hemphill) are placed on the lower section of the design. 

The Park has five major Vegetation zones:  chaparral /oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone and alpine. There are more than 1400 plant species in the Park. A large number of animal and bird species are also living in the Park. Some of the prominent ones are American Black Bear, Bobcat, Cougar, Gray Fox, Mountain Kingsnake, Marmots, Jackrabbits, Nutcrackers Blach Rosy Finch, White-headed Woodpeckers, Spotted owls etc. 

4)  Grand Canyon National Park Arizona):

The Grand Canyon National Park quarter is the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fourth overall in the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme. Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is the 15th oldest National Park in the USA.  It was established as a National site on 20th February 1893. It was declared a Grand Canyon Game Preserve in 1906 and in 1908 it was designated as a National Monument. It was only in 1919 that it was established as the Grand Canyon National Park. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. 

The Park covers 1900 sq. miles of area in the Coconino and Mohave counties. It attracts nearly half a million visitors annually.

The creation of the National Park helped thwart proposals to dam the Colorado River within its boundaries and the Glen Canyon Dam was only built upriver later on.  In 1975, the Marble Canyon National Monument was made a part of the Grand Canyon National Park.

The Grand Canyon has an immense and awe-inspiring landscape and size which is upto 277 river miles long and upto 18 miles wide and a mile deep. The Park’s main attraction is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colarado River, often considered as one of the seven “Natural Wonders of the World”. The Grand Canyon  and its extensive distribution of tributary canyons is valued because of its size, depth and exposed layers of colourful rocks dating back to the Precambrian times. 

The Canyon itself was created by the incision of the Colorado River and its tributaries after the Colorado Plateau was uplifted, causing the Colorado River system to develop along its present course. The main tourist areas are the North and the South Rims of the Grand Canyon itself. The rest of the Park is rugged and can be accessed by pack trail and back-country roads.

The reverse of this coin depicts a view of the granaries above the Nankoweap Delta in Marble Canyon (the Northernmost section of the Grand Canyon) near the Colorado River. These granaries were used for storing food and seeds between 1050 and 1150 A.D. 
On the periphery of the coin are the inscriptions “GRAND CANYON”, “ARIZONA”, “E.PLURIBUS UNUM” (One Out Of Many) and the year of issue “2010”. The initials of the designer and sculptor/engraver “PH” (Phebe Hemphill) are placed on the lower section of the design on the right hand side. 

5)      Mount Hood National Forest (Oregon): 

The Mount Hood National Forest is the fifth quarter to be issued in 2010 and the fifth overall in the America and the Beautiful Quarters Programme. Located 20 miles East of Portland, Oregon, which lies in the northern part of the Willamette River Valley, Mount Hood National Forest extends South from the scenic Columbia River Gorge across more than 60 miles of forested mountains, lakes and streams to the Olallie Scenic Area, a high lake basin under the slopes of Mount Jefferson. The Forest covers more than one million acres of property. It was first established as the “Bull Run Forest Reserve” in 1892. It was established as a National site on 28th September 1893. Then again, it was merged with part of “Cascade National Forest” on 1908. Later, in 1924, it was renamed as “Mount Hood National Forest”. 

Mount Hood National Forest is one of the most visited National Forests in the USA attracting over four million visitors annually.  Two of its main highlights are the Timberline Lodge and the Clackamas Wild and Scenic River. Some other places of tourist interest are Lost Lake, Burnt Lake, Trillium Lake, Timothy Lake and the Old Oregon Trail. Visitors can also go fishing, boating, hiking, rafting, camping, skiing, biking etc.

The reverse of this coin depicts an imposing  snapshot of Mount Hood in all its glory togetherwith with Lost Lake in the foreground.