The five strikes of the 2015 America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins will be released by the United States Mint as part of its multi-year America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin™ series. These five coins each showcase a different reverse design emblematic of a selected site of national interest from around the United States and its territories.
The America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins scheduled to be issued in 2015 and the states they represent are:
North Carolina – 2015 Blue Ridge Parkway Silver Uncirculated Coin
Each coin of this series is struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver and features the extremely large diameter of three inches. This is the same composition and diameter used for a series of related bullion coins known as the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins™.
In fact, the US Mint created this series of uncirculated coins as the numismatic versions of the bullion coins. Congress gave the power to "prepare and distribute numismatic items" to the Secretary of the Treasury who oversees the US Mint in 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3).
The bullion coins themselves were authorized directly by Congress as part of the larger America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-456). This same act also authorized a series of circulating quarter dollars known as the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program which actually serves as the design basis for all America the Beautiful related coins.
Accordingly, the obverse of each America the Beautiful coin (including these large silver uncirculated coins) contains the same obverse portrait of George Washington seen in one form or another on quarter dollars since 1932. It is the work of artist John Flanagan.
Shown on the reverse are the designs emblematic of the selected sites of national interest. One site was chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US Territories for inclusion in the America the Beautiful programs. Coins of each program are released at a rate of five per year with the debut strikes appearing in 2010 and the fifty-sixth and final coin of each program scheduled to appear in 2021.
Details on the chosen 2015 America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin sites are shown below:
Homestead National Monument of America of Nebraska
Homestead National Monument of America is located in the state of Nebraska. It was created by an Act of Congress signed into law on March 19, 1936.
The purpose of the monument is to recall the importance of the Homestead Act of 1862 and the 1.6 million people who utilized the provisions of the Act to obtain free land. All the participants had to do was file an application, make improvements to the land and live there for five years and then file for a deed.
270 million acres of land in the United States was claimed under the provisions of the Act.
Kisatchie National Forest of Louisiana
Kisatchie National Forest is located in central and northern Louisiana. Kisatchie was officially created on June 3, 1936.
The national forest today consists of over 604,000 acres. Management of the large forest is divided among five different ranger districts.
Visitors to the forest partake in many different activities such as camping, hiking, fishing and boating.
Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina
Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains found in the state of North Carolina. It was officially established on June 30, 1936 but it would be over 52 years before the last section would be completed.
With that last section, the Parkway now runs for 469 miles. It should be noted that Blue Ridge is not a national park, but is instead considered a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road. That being said, the Parkway is the most visited unit of the National Park System.
The National Park Service maintains the land on either side of the roadway with much of the additional area beyond managed by the National Forest Service.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge of Delaware
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located on the eastern coast of Delaware along Delaware Bay. It was established on March 16, 1937 as a protected nesting grounds and sanctuary for birds flying along the Atlantic flyway.
Land for the refuge was purchased from private landowners using funds raised from the federal duck stamp funds. The refuge today consists of 15,978 acres.
Almost 350 different species of birds have been spotted within the refuge at one time or another.
Saratoga National Historical Park of New York
Saratoga National Historical Park is located in the eastern part of the state of New York. It was officially established on June 1, 1938.
Preserved at the park is the site of the Battle of Saratoga fought during the American Revolutionary War. This battle was the first significant victory for American forces and led to France recognizing US independence.
The park is relatively small at just 3,392 acres but sees an estimated 100,000 visitors annually.