The 2012 America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins are the third year of strikes released as part of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin™ series. The five coins issued during the year in the series, along with the state or United States territory they represent, are:
Puerto Rico – 2012 El Yunque National Forest Silver Uncirculated Coin
These above five coins represent the eleventh through the fifteenth of the series. In total, the program is expected to contain a total of fifty-six coins when completed in 2021 with the coins released at a rate of five per year from their debut in 2010.
Coins of this series are struck as the numismatic versions of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins™ Program. Both these uncirculated coins and the related bullion strikes are composed of five ounces of .999 fine silver and feature the large diameter of three inches.
The composition and diameter were originally required by Congress for the bullion coins under the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which became Public Law 110-456. Congress later approved legislation allowing for a change to the diameter of the bullion coins but the US Mint opted to remain at the three inch specification.
Coins of this uncirculated series are struck under the authority granted the Secretary of the Treasury in 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3). That authority allows the Treasury Secretary the power to "prepare and distribute numismatic items."
Both the uncirculated and the bullion America the Beautiful Coins feature designs originally created for yet a third US Mint series – the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. This includes the obverse of a portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan and a reverse emblematic of different sites of national interest from around the United States and its territories.
A ‘P’ mintmark is found on each uncirculated coin which helps to differentiate the series from the related bullion coins which have no mintmark. The ‘P’ indicates the coin was struck at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia.
When available, the America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins will be sold directly to the public by the United States Mint.
Some details on the 2012 America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin sites that were chosen is shown below:
El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque National Forest is located in the United States territory of Puerto Rico. It is the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System.
The area was originally set aside as a reserve by the King of Spain when the island was under the control of that nation. It later became Luquillo Forest Reserve on January 17, 1903 by the United States government and then elevated in status and renamed Caribbean National Forest on June 4, 1935. It assumed the El Yunque National Forest title on April 2, 2007.
The national forest consists of 28,002 acres and receives over 200 inches of rain per year in some locations resulting in the tropical rain forest.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is found in the state of New Mexico. It preserves some of the largest and best preserved ancient Pueblo dwellings in the United States.
The Chaco area was originally established by the Pueblo peoples who continued to live and construct dwellings in the area from 900-1150 AD. These buildings became the largest in North America and would remain as such until the 19th century.
Around 1150 AD, the people began to leave the Chaco area.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is found in the state of Maine. It was originally protected by the federal government on July 8, 1916 when it became Sieur de Monts National Monument.
On February 26, 1919, it became Lafayette National Park, named after Marquis de Lafayette. During these early years, wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated funds to create much of the infrastructure of the park such as trails, bridges and even two gate lodges.
The park today protects much of Mount Desert Island and associated smaller islands. It consists of approximately 47,452.80 acres.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is found on the big island of the state of Hawaii. It was originally created as Hawaii National Park on August 1, 1916 and was the first national park in the United States system created in a territory.
Inside the park’s boundaries are two active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Visitors to the park are often treated to active lava flows as well as other thermal features.
The park today consists of 323,431 acres and receives well over one million visitors per year despite the fact that most must fly into the island.
Denali National Park
Denali National Park was originally created as Mount McKinley National Park on February 26, 1917. Both Denali and McKinley are names for the massive mountain found within the park’s boundaries.
It has been, and still is, called Denali by the local people as well as officially by the state of Alaska. It is known by the federal government as Mount McKinley after having received that name by a political supporter of then President William McKinley in the late 1800’s.
The park consists of 4,740,911 acres.