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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment