Collectors and investors should not have that much longer to wait for a new series of bullion coins to be released from the United States Mint. Known as the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program, these new strikes are due to be issued before the year's end.
Many should already be aware of the sister series called the America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program as coins from it have already made their way into circulation and consequently into the collectors market. Under this program, five new circulating quarter dollars are to be struck annually featuring reverse designs emblematic of selected sites of national interest from around the United States and its territories. Chosen locations include national parks, national forests, national monuments, etc. with one site selected from each state, the District of Columbia as well as one from each territory.
If this new program sounds slightly familiar, it should. It follows the same basic principles that were applied to the previous 50-State Quarters Program ,which debuted in 1999, and was immediately followed-up in 2009 by the D.C. & US Territories Quarters Program. The only appreciable difference is that the reverse designs must feature sites of national origin whereas the previous programs just required a location within the boundaries of that jurisdiction.
Obverse designs on the new circulating quarters, still feature a portrait of the first President of the United States, George Washington, just as they did during the previous two quarter dollar programs. In fact, Washington has been on the quarters since 1932.
The new series of quarters made their debut earlier this year with the release of the Hot Springs National Park Quarter honoring Hot Springs National Park located in Arkansas. The Mint held a ceremony launching the strike on Tuesday, April 20, 2010.
Following that, the Mint released the Yellowstone National Park Quarter on Thursday, June 3, 2010. It honors the national park of the same name which is located primarily in Wyoming. Due up next is the Yosemite National Park Quarter honoring the site in California with a release ceremony scheduled for Thursday, July 29, 2010.
America the Beautiful 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins
Authorized in addition to the circulating quarters by the America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-456), was a new series of bullion coins. As indicated earlier, the United States Mint is now in the process (or shortly will be) of striking these bullion pieces.
Each America the Beautiful Silver Coin is to feature identical imagery on both its obverse and reverse sides as what is found on the quarter dollars. That means an obverse showing the portrait of George Washington and a reverse emblematic of the selected national site. The bullion pieces are also to be issued in the same year as the associated quarters are released.
The five bullion coins due out for 2010 include:
- 2010 Hot Springs National Park 5 oz Silver Coin representing Arkansas
- 2010 Yellowstone National Park 5 oz Silver Coin representing Wyoming
- 2010 Yosemite National Park 5 oz Silver Coin representing California
- 2010 Grand Canyon National 5 oz Park Silver Coin representing Arizona
- 2010 Mount Hood National Forest 5 oz Silver Coin representing Oregon
Problems were encountered in initially striking the bullion coins according to previous comments from the Mint. Those problems are undoubtedly due to several factors.
The first of those factors is the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin's massive size. The authorizing law dictates that each be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver to a diameter of three inches. These large strikes are much bigger than any other coin typically produced by the Mint. For reference, the One Ounce Silver American Eagle Bullion Coin only has a diameter of 1.598 inches making the new strikes almost twice as big.
Second, the Mint is required to edge incuse the coin's fineness and weight. This proved to be problematic and test strikes resulted in a "crumpled effect."
Finally, in order to strike the new coins, the Mint had to invest $2.2 million in a new Graebener coining press. As with all new equipment, its setup and initial test runs undoubtedly added time to the mix.
Still, the Mint indicates that it will be striking the new America the Beautiful Bullion Coins in the third quarter of the year (July, August and September) and should begin releasing them in intervals so as to insure they have been made available by years end as is required by the authorizing law. Following years should see a more expanded window of striking and release as the Mint would have most of the kinks worked out by then.
Buying the Bullion Coins
As with all Mint bullion products, those interested in obtaining them must do so through a network of authorized purchasers, or through the secondary market. The Mint does not sell bullion directly to the public, although it has not ruled out creating numismatic versions of the strikes for sale directly to collectors.
Another option for obtaining the America the Beautiful Bullion Coins was created by the authorizing legislation for them. In the text of that legislation a provision was added allowing the National Park Service to buy the coins directly from the Mint and resell them at its sites around the country.
Future Releases of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin Program
America Silver Coins Release Dates
|2011 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|Pennsylvania||Gettysburg National Military Park||TBA 2011|
|Montana||Glacier National Park||TBA 2011|
|Washington||Olympic National Park||TBA 2011|
|Mississippi||Vicksburg National Military Park||TBA 2011|
|Oklahoma||Chickasaw National Recreation Area||TBA 2011|
|2012 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|Puerto Rico||El Yunque National Forest||TBA 2012|
|New Mexico||Chaco Culture National Historical Park||TBA 2012|
|Maine||Acadia National Park||TBA 2012|
|Hawaii||Hawaii Volcanoes National Park||TBA 2012|
|Alaska||Denali National Park||TBA 2012|
|2013 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|New Hampshire||White Mountain National Forest||TBA 2013|
|Ohio||Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial||TBA 2013|
|Nevada||Great Basin National Park||TBA 2013|
|Maryland||Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine||TBA 2013|
|South Dakota||Mount Rushmore National Memorial||TBA 2013|
|2014 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|Tennessee||Great Smoky Mountains National Park||TBA 2014|
|Virginia||Shenandoah National Park||TBA 2014|
|Utah||Arches National Park||TBA 2014|
|Colorado||Great Sand Dunes National Park||TBA 2014|
|Florida||Everglades National Park||TBA 2014|
|2015 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|Nebraska||Homestead National Monument of America||TBA 2015|
|Louisiana||Kisatchie National Forest||TBA 2015|
|North Carolina||Blue Ridge Parkway||TBA 2015|
|Delaware||Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge||TBA 2015|
|New York||Saratoga National Historical Park||TBA 2015|
|2016 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|Illinois||Shawnee National Forest||TBA 2016|
|Kentucky||Cumberland Gap National Historical Park||TBA 2016|
|West Virginia||Harpers Ferry National Historical Park||TBA 2016|
|North Dakota||Theodore Roosevelt National Park||TBA 2016|
|South Carolina||Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument)||TBA 2016|
|2017 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|Iowa||Effigy Mounds National Monument||TBA 2017|
|District of Columbia||Frederick Douglass National Historic Site||TBA 2017|
|Missouri||Ozark National Scenic Riverways||TBA 2017|
|New Jersey||Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty)||TBA 2017|
|Indiana||George Rogers Clark National Historical Park||TBA 2017|
|2018 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|Michigan||Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore||TBA 2018|
|Wisconsin||Apostle Islands National Lakeshore||TBA 2018|
|Minnesota||Voyageurs National Park||TBA 2018|
|Georgia||Cumberland Island National Seashore||TBA 2018|
|Rhode Island||Block Island National Wildlife Refuge||TBA 2018|
|2019 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|Massachusetts||Lowell National Historical Park||TBA 2019|
|Northern Mariana Islands||American Memorial Park||TBA 2019|
|Guam||War in the Pacific National Historical Park||TBA 2019|
|Texas||San Antonio Missions National Historical Park||TBA 2019|
|Idaho||Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness||TBA 2019|
|2020 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins|
|American Samoa||National Park of American Samoa||TBA 2020|
|Connecticut||Weir Farm National Historic Site||TBA 2020|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve||TBA 2020|
|Vermont||Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park||TBA 2020|
|Kansas||Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve||TBA 2020|
|2021 5 oz Silver Bullion Coin|
|Alabama||Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site||TBA|