Appearing as the fifth year for strikes of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin™ series are the five 2014 America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins. Shown on the reverse of these coins are designs emblematic of selected sites of national interest. The America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins scheduled to be issued in 2014 and the states they represent are:
This series of America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins debuted with five 2010-dated strikes and feature a release rate of five per year from that debut until 2021 when the last coin of the series is scheduled to be released.
The United States Mint created this series under the authority granted the Secretary of the Treasury in 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3) to "prepare and distribute numismatic items." Coins of this series are considered the numismatic versions of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins™ that were created by Congress as part of the larger America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which became Public Law 110-456.
As the name of the act implies, a series of new quarter dollars was also authorized by Congress. It is, in fact, these quarters in which both the bullion and the uncirculated coins are based upon by using the same designs as found on the quarters. The purpose of the authorizing act is stated as:
"To provide for a program for circulating quarter dollar coins that are emblematic of a national park or other national site in each State, the District of Columbia, and each territory of the United States, and for other purposes."
The series of quarters, known as the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, does just that by showcasing different sites of national interest with one coin in the series representing a site from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US territories, for a total of fifty-six new coins.
When Congress authorized the bullion coins, it required them to contain the same designs as found on the quarters and thus, by extension, they are also found on this third series – the America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins. Aside from the designs, however, the bullion and these uncirculated coins feature much different specifications from the quarters.
For example, each bullion and uncirculated coin is struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver. Each also has the extremely large diameter of three inches. In comparison, the circulating quarters are typically struck from cupro-nickel and have a diameter of just 0.955 inches.
Details on the chosen 2014 America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin sites are shown below:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park of Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in the state of Tennessee. The park was officially established on June 15, 1934.
The park is located along the ridge line of the Great Smoky Mountains on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. Visitors to the park can participate in many activities, but the most notable is likely just sightseeing as the park offers many panoramic views.
At 522,419 acres, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. This large oasis of nature draws millions of visitors per year and qualifies as the most visited national park.
Shenandoah National Park of Virginia
Shenandoah National Park is found in the state of Virginia. It was officially established on December 26, 1935 but had been originally authorized in 1926.
In between those years, the state of Virginia slowly acquired the land for the park through the use of eminent domain. That land was then turned over to the federal government for the sole purpose of the creation of the park.
Approximately 40% of the park has been designated wilderness giving visitors the opportunity to really connect with nature. Most, however, likely just see the park from the extremely popular Skyline Drive.
Arches National Park of Utah
Arches National Park is located in the state of Utah. It was originally established as a national monument by presidential proclamation on April 12, 1929. After a few changes to the size of the protected area over the years, the site was declared a national park in 1971.
Found within Arches National Park are over 2,000 sandstone arches. One such example is the Delicate Arch which stands 52-feet high and serves as an icon for both the park as well as the state of Utah.
The park consists of 76,679 acres which draws over a million visitors annually. Those visitors are treated to an ever-changing (if not slowly changing) landscape. Erosion has collapsed over forty of the sandstone arches since 1970.
Great Sand Dunes National Park of Colorado
Great Sand Dunes National Park is found in the state of Colorado. The site was declared a national monument on March 17, 1932 and elevated to national park status on September 13, 2004.
The national park protects a system of sand dunes that is the tallest in North America. Also found at the location are alpine lakes, forests and several mountain peaks.
The dunes themselves rise up to 750 feet above the San Luis Valley below. Visitors are offered the change to climb the dunes, if they desire, but keep in mind the area is known for its wind and blowing sand (which actually helps to regenerate the dunes).
Everglades National Park of Florida
Everglades National Park is located in the state of Florida. Congress authorized the park on May 30, 1934, but owing to the Great Depression stipulated that no funds would be allotted for it for at least five years.
Through private donations, land was purchased for the park. An official establishment of the site occurred on December 6, 1947.
The Everglades is actually a slow-moving river. Found within the site are over 300 species of birds, 300 species of fish, 40 species of mammals and 50 species of reptiles making it a haven of nature.