The 2013 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins are the fourth year for the silver bullion series from the United States Mint. The program launched in 2010 and will contain a total of fifty-six coins when completed that are dedicated to the beauty of the United States. Coins schedule to appear in 2013 as part of the series are:
New Hampshire – 2013 White Mountain National Forest Silver Bullion Coin
South Dakota – 2013 Mount Rushmore National Memorial Silver Bullion Coin
Each of the bullion coins in the series are struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver. The coins will have a diameter of three inches which makes them the largest bullion coin produced by the US Mint. As there will be no inscription on the obverse (heads side) or reverse (tails side) of the bullion coins stating their content, an edge inscription will be used showing the coins weight and fineness.
These bullion pieces were authorized by the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 along with the circulating quarter dollars issued at approximately the same time. A requirement of the act dictates that both the quarters and the bullion coins have identical designs.
With that stipulation in place, it is not surprising then to find out that both will contain a portrait of George Washington, the First President of the United States, on their obverse. Washington has been featured on the quarter dollar since 1932 with the artwork completed by John Flanagan. His design was used until the introduction of the 50-State Quarter Program in 1999 when William Cousins was asked to slightly modify it. The Cousins version will continue to be used on the America the Beautiful strikes.
All of the reverses in the program are to be emblematic of a national park or other site of national interest. Accordingly, one site was chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five territories of the United States (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands) for a total of fifty-six locations. Selected sites include national parks, national memorials, national monuments, national forests, etc. The release date for each coin is dictated by the order upon which the selected site came under the direct control of the federal government.
The US Mint will use the approximately the same method of release for the America the Beautiful coins as it did for the 50-State Quarters. As such, the coins will be released at a rate of five per year until the entire list has been exhausted in 2011.
If the Mint follows its typical procedure, design candidates for a years strike will be seen early in the previous year allowing time for review by the appropriate groups and individuals including the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts. Their comments will be taken into consideration by the Treasury Secretary who had the final authority to make the selection of what will appear on the coins.
Details on the chosen 2013 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin sites is shown below:
White Mountain National Forest
Most of White Mountain National Forest is located in New Hampshire, but a small portion is found in the neighboring state of Maine.
Today the forest consists of almost 800,000 acres, but truly owes its creation to the Weeks Act of 1911. This legislation allowed the federal government to purchase private lands (primarily in the Eastern United States) for the sole purpose of forming national forests. In 1914, 7,000 acres were bought for $13 an acre in the first purchase under the act in the area. This led to the establishment of White Mountain National Forest in 1918.
Due to its proximity to the metropolises of the eastern coast, White Mountain is within a days drive of over 70 million people. This leads to the forest being one of the most visited in the country with an estimated 6 million people visiting annually.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial
In a seemingly, but intended, contradiction of philosophies, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial in Ohio celebrates both an act of war as well as a lasting peace.
The act of war was a naval battle that occurred in the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the British Empire. Known as the Battle of Lake Erie, it is considered by most to be the greatest naval battle of that war, it was led on the America side by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and the British side by Robert Heriot Barclay. With superior numbers, a United States Navy fleet of nine vessels defeated and captured six vessels of Great Britain’s Royal Navy. This victory ensured the United States had control of Lake Erie for the remainder of the war.
But, the memorial also recognizes the two centuries of peace that has endured between the Untied States, Great Britain and Canada since that war.
Great Basin National Park
In an area that most probably think of as a desert wasteland is a pristine and scenic park known as Great Basin National Park in Nevada.
The park derives its name from its location which is a dry and mountainous region between the Wasatch Mountains and the Sierra Nevada approximately 300 miles north of Las Vegas.
The 77,000 acre park was only established in 1986, but a portion of it has been part of the national park system since 1922. This portion was a group of caves known as the Lehman Caves which were protected as a national monument in 1922. They are known for their ornate decoration of stalactites, stalagmites and over 300 rare shield formations.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Located on the Locust Point Peninsula of the Baltimore Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland is the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.
This historic site is the location of many important events throughout its existence, but none probably more so important that the role it played during the War of 1812. Realizing the importance of the harbor and the city, Fort McHenry was built to defend them in the years after the American Revolution. Within a few decades of its construction, it was called upon to do just that.
During the height of the War of 1812, which pitted American forces against those of Great Britain, British warships were poised on the entrance to the Baltimore Harbor. The only thing preventing them from entering and taking control was a few sunken blockades and the defenses of Fort McHenry. For 25 hours beginning on the morning of September 13, 1814, the British ships assaulted Fort McHenry with cannon and rockets. Owing mostly to the poor accuracy of these devices, Fort McHenry survived and very few casualties were reported. Unable to break the defenses, the British ships retired.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Work on Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota commenced in 1927 and continued almost non-stop until 1941. It was all the original brain-child of historian Doane Robinson who envisioned grand carvings in the Black Hills to attract tourists from around the world to the state.
To this end, Robinson brought in sculptor Gutzon Borglum and took him to the granite pillars known as Needles. Borglum dismissed these pillars deciding they were to thin to support sculpting and instead turned his sights on Mount Rushmore. Its southeastern facing location allowed for maximum sunlight and it also provided a grand view for long distances.
In 1925, Congress authorized the sculpture and fund-raising began. Borglum chose four past presidents of the United States to grace the mountain – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. His criteria for these selections were there roles in preserving and expanding the nation.