Available as bullion and uncirculated coins, America the Beautiful coins are an annual series of five silver coins that have been issued since 2010. These 0.999 fine bullion silver coins have a face value of 25 cents. They weigh 5 ounces and measure 3 inches in diameter, making them the largest silver bullion coins the United States Mint has ever produced.
The America the Beautiful quarter series also includes the production of circulating and collector coins. The circulating coins are much smaller than the silver bullion coins, measuring 0.95 inches in diameter and weighing only 0.2 ounces. They’re composed of 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel, and their edge has 119 reeds. The numismatic version of the America the Beautiful quarter features a matte finish that makes it easy to distinguish from the circulated bullion version, which has a smooth, mirror-like finish.
The America the Beautiful coin series was created to pay tribute to the many national parks, forests and monuments across the United States. It also serves to remind the American public of the extensive efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt in protecting the flora and fauna of the country.
Widely regarded as the ‘Conservationist President,’ Roosevelt visited the West frequently before he became the president. He witnessed the overgrazing that destroyed the habitats of small mammals and birds and the destruction of certain big game species.
When he became the 26th President of the United States in 1901, Roosevelt decided to establish more national parks and forests to preserve America’s natural landscape and wildlife. Soon after taking office, he formed the United States Forest Service and signed into law the Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities. This resulted in the creation of five national parks and 18 national monuments. Altogether, the president placed about 230 million acres of land across the country under public protection .
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson furthered President Roosevelt’s conservation efforts by creating the National Park Service. Today, the national park system consists of over 84 million acres in every state, with the exception of Delaware, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.
In 2008, the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act was established to authorize the annual production of silver bullion coins depicting national parks and monuments in each state and the five territories of the United States. This led to the formation of the U.S. Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program, which began to issue the first series of five quarter-dollar coins in 2010.
The quarters of the America the Beautiful series were made with an automated coining press that was installed at the United States Mint in Philadelphia on March 1, 2010. Delivering up to 1,000 tons on each strike , this German-made machine is theoretically capable of producing more than 1 million silver coins a year. It produced the highest number of coins in 2016: about 325,000 pieces of bullion and uncirculated coins. Coins minted in Philadelphia bear the ‘P’ mint mark.
In 2012, the United States Mint began producing the America the Beautiful quarters at its San Francisco facility. Featuring the ‘S’ mint mark, the coins weren’t intended to be released into circulation. Instead, they were offered to the general public in collectible bags and rolls. The first batch of bags and rolls contained the America the Beautiful quarters with the image of El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, which were released in 2012.
Then, in 2019, the West Point facility of the United States Mint began striking America the Beautiful quarters. The mint produced two million pieces of each of the five America the Beautiful quarters with the ‘W’ mint mark. The first batch of coins comprised quarters honoring Lowell National Historical Park and American Memorial Park. Unlike those from San Francisco, the quarters made at West Point were released into general circulation.
If you’re wondering how many America the Beautiful quarters there currently are, the answer is 56. In 2020, the United States Mint issued the 11th series of the America the Beautiful coins.
The America the Beautiful circulation quarters are usually not worth more than their face value because they’re too common. However, the silver bullion version of these coins can fetch multiple times their face value. In general, coin dealers are willing to pay up to 10 times face value for the silver coins.
The most valuable America the Beautiful quarters are the 5-ounce rounds, which are the silver bullion coins. Depending on condition and rarity, you may be able to get hundreds of dollars for one of these coins.
Every silver coin in the America the Beautiful series has the same design on the obverse side, but they don’t feature the same reverse design. On the obverse side of each coin, you’ll see the standard profile portrait of President George Washington that’s found on circulating quarters. There are also several inscriptions, including ‘United States of America,’ ‘In God We Trust’ and the face value of the coin.
On the reverse side, all of the coins in the America the Beautiful quarters series feature unique images of national parks, national forests and national monuments in different states. Only the images on the coins representing California, Arizona and South Dakota were duplicates of designs from the U.S. Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program.
America the Beautiful silver bullion coins have large surfaces that enabled artists and engravers to create images in beautiful, eye-catching detail, which is something that’s impossible with smaller coins.
The America the Beautiful silver coins appeal to both the general public and coin collectors because of their beautiful designs. The bullion and numismatic versions of these coins are particularly sought after for their potential to rise in value.
1. U.S. Government Information. ‘America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008,’ https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-110publ456/pdf/PLAW-110publ456.pdf. Accessed September 21, 2020.
2. CoinNews. ‘How the Philadelphia Mint Makes ATB 5 Oz Silver Coins,’ https://www.coinnews.net/2013/09/27/how-the-philadelphia-mint-makes-atb-5-oz-silver-coins. Accessed September 21, 2020.