The quarter is the most used and most visible American coin in everyday change. And beginning in 2010, all new 25-cent pieces have been duplicated to a much larger scale in silver pieces the United States Mint has named America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins®.
Between 2010-2021, the United States Mint will produce 56 quarters and 56 silver coins with matching reverse or "tails side" designs that honor national parks and sites in each state, the District of Columbia and all five U.S. Territories — Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. Learn about each five ounce silver coins by using the following map, or scroll below it for an overview of the bullion series.
America the Beautiful 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins
(Hover over your state or territory, click for coin information)
U.S. Mint America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin Program
2010 is the inaugural year for the 12-year quarter dollar series the U.S. Mint has dubbed America the Beautiful Quarters™ . These new commemoratives were authorized by America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, or Public Law 110-456, which also instructs the Mint to strike companion .999 fine silver coins that weigh 5 ounces and have an enormous 3 inch diameter.
To say the coins are big is an understatement. Circulating quarters come in at a mere 5.670 grams (0.2 ounces), and are less than an inch in diameter — 0.955 inches to be exact.
The bullion coins are exact duplicates of the quarter dollars issued, with the exception of the aforementioned size, their differing metallic composition and their edges. Standard quarters have 119 reeds on their edge. America the Beautiful Silver Coins are not reeded, but instead flat with incused edge lettering featuring the coin’s fineness and weight.
The size of the coins are quite distinct, and a first for the Mint. Silver coins have historically included a single ounce of the precious metal and, obviously, were smaller. As a comparison, these new silver pieces are nearly double the size of the American Silver Eagle which is 1.598 inches in diameter. They are twice that of early US coinage, like the Peace Silver Dollars and Morgan Silver Dollars.
During the initial Mint production development testing, the size of the new coins created more than one technical issues that had to be resolved, and resulting caused the five-ounce coins to see a much later than planned 2010 release.
"Well, there isn’t a 5 ounce blank out there, so we had to get this custom made," United States Mint Director Ed Moy said during a public coin forum in February 2010 as reported by parent CoinNews.net. "Then, because it was 3 inches in diameter, well we’ve got a 5 ounce piece of silver and we stretch it out to a 3 inch diameter, it’s paper thin."
Congressional lawmakers apparently did not run the numbers on how thin the coins would have to be based on their other criteria.
"Congress mandated that we had to edge letter it. So when you edge letter a paper thin coin, you get crumples. We’ve been technologically struggling to make this coin happen," Moy added.
The Mint had to order a new coining press from German firm of Gräbener Pressensysteme GmbH & Co. KG " to better handle the requirements of striking the new coins.
The press is able to apply up to 1,000 tons of force on each five ounce silver coin blank. All problems were resolved, and the Mint began producing the first of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins on September 21, 2010.
(Ironically, new legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that, if passes, would authorize the Mint to change the diameter of the coins from between 2.5-3.0 inches, and eliminate the requirement to have incused edges. The bill is currently in the hands of the U.S. Senate, with members now out of D.C. campaigning for re-election.)
Sales and Distribution for America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin
The America the Beautiful bullion coins will be distributed exactly like the American Silver Eagles, which are the only other silver bullion coins issued by the Mint. The Mint does not sell these directly to the public. Instead, it works with a small number of "Authorized Purchasers" — basically dealers, who in turn resell the coins to precious metal providers, investors, dealers and collectors.
Additionally, Public Law 110-456 specifies that the National Park Service (NPS) may purchase quantities of America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins (no fewer than 1,000 at a time) and may resell and repackage them as the Director of the NPS deems appropriate.
The Mint has indicated the possibility that it would strike special proof and uncirculated collector versions, which it would directly sell the public. But there is no update as to whether that will happen this year.
Expectations are that the coins will be released in staggered intervals beginning in November. The maximum mintage for 2010 silver coins will be 500,000, according to the Mint. That amount is split across each of the five 2010 issues equally. Those issues include the:
- Hot Springs National Park Silver Bullion Coin (Arkansas)
- Yellowstone National Park Silver Bullion Coin (Wyoming)
- Yosemite National Park Silver Bullion Coin (California)
- Grand Canyon National Park Silver Bullion Coin (Arizona)
- Mount Hood National Forest Silver Bullion Coin (Oregon)
Use the map above for more information on these and future issues, or visit the coin release dates page on this site to check out issues by year or state and territory. Also, visit the U.S. Mint Coin Programs page for information on all American coin series.