Collecting Treasures with America the Beautiful Quarters: The First Set
The year 2010 marked the beginning of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program with the first set featuring four national parks and one national forest.
The quarters released in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program quickly received a nickname of National Park quarters. However, this title can be slightly misleading. Not all of the quarters being released during the U.S. Mint’s 12 year program will feature national parks, specifically. Many of the quarters will honor other kinds of national sites as well. These include national monuments, memorial parks, or wildlife preserves. As seen on one of the first five coins issued, the quarters also honor national forests.
Hot Springs National Park Quarter
The scheduled release for the coins is in the order in which the honored site was first established as a national location. On April 20th, 1832, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas became one of America’s first protected sites. Even though the area was initially a reservation, and not officially named a national park until 1921, Hot Springs National Park was still considered the oldest site. It earned its spot as the first coin in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.
The quarter shares the marvel of the waters flowing from part of Ouachita Mountain range. The natural 143 degree F water, emerging from 47 hot springs in the national park’s land, is used primarily for therapeutic baths and drinking. The park aims to protect the amazing springs and the eight historic bathhouses which utilize their healing power. The quarter’s design displays the park’s headquarters with a thermal fountain in the forefront. A small National Park Service emblem is positioned to the right of the building also.
All of the quarter’s designs include the name of the site, the state, the year of minting, and E Pluribus Unum on the reverse. The obverse of each quarter remains the same for the entire series. It displays the portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan, and four inscriptions: United States of America, Liberty, In God We Trust, and Quarter Dollar.
Yellowstone National Park Quarter
The second quarter issued in 2010 (and for the program) illustrates another impressive water phenomenon. The Old Faithful geyser is seen in the background of the coin and is one of the best known attractions located within Yellowstone National Park of Wyoming. This eruption of boiling water, along with a bison standing mightily in front, represents the resilient wildlife and nature’s wonder found within Yellowstone National Park. The park was established on March 1, 1872 and remains a treasured site of America.
Yosemite National Park Quarter
Towering above trees, and jetting 3,000 feet from its base, is a granite monolith known as El Capitan. It is one of the largest granite monoliths of the world. This is the scene depicted on the third quarter released in 2010. The coin honors Yosemite National Park in California. The famous rock formation is located on the north side of Yosemite Valley. Becoming a national site on October 1, 1890, Yosemite National Park is known for not only El Capitan, but for three groves of ancient sequoias, many waterfalls, lush meadows, and extraordinary landscapes.
Grand Canyon National Park Quarter
Another area known for an extraordinary landscape is Grand Canyon National Park. It is the fourth coin of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program and shares the view of the powerful river flowing through the canyon in Arizona. The coin also features ancient granaries discovered along the wall of the canyon. These granaries housed foods and seeds for inhabitants of the area almost one thousand years ago. Honoring America’s earliest people and scenery, this coin features another remarkable national site which was established on February 20, 1893.
Mount Hood National Forest Quarter
The last quarter issued in 2010 honors Mount Hood National Forest of Oregon. Considered a national site on September 28, 1893, the area comprises of over a million acres. Mount Hood is the highest point in Oregon and can be seen hundreds of miles away. The sight of this dominant peak rising above Lost Lake is revealed on the coin.
All of the designs selected for the quarters share the beauty which can be appreciated and found within the nation. While the monetary value for the quarters remains the same at 25 cents (quarter dollar), the artistic value of the quarter has increased for many. The program’s goal was to encourage and inspire interest in the nation’s sites. For those who take time to notice the money passing through their hands every day, America the beautiful can be seen to be alive and well.
U.S. Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program, U.S. Mint
Bressett, Ken, National Park Collector Folder, 2010