The 2017 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins will mark the eighth year in the series of coins from the US Mint created to celebrate the beauty of the United States. In 2017, there are five sites that will represent the country for that year and include:
District of Columbia – 2017 Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Silver Bullion Coin
The entire America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin program was authorized as part of the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which also authorized a series of circulating quarter dollars. In fact, it is the quarters that will serve as the lead series for the program weighing heavily on the look of both series.
The authorizing act requires that the images on both the silver bullion pieces and the quarters be identical including the inscription of "Quarter Dollar" which is to be placed on the obverse (heads side) of not only the quarters but also the silver bullion coins. A portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States will also be seen on the obverse. The image of Washington by John Flanagan was first used on the quarter dollar in 1932 and has been there in one form or another since that year. In 1999, William Cousins slightly modified the image to allow for changes required by the 50-State Quarters Program. That modified image will be used again on these America the Beautiful pieces.
On the reverse (tails side) of each coin is where the image honoring the beauty of the American nation will be placed. Fifty-six locations throughout the country were selected with one from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US Territories (American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico). The selected sites all had to be of national interest and under federal control. Accordingly, sites like national forests, national parks, national monuments, etc. were selected.
If the Mint continues to operate the America the Beautiful program as they have operated past programs, the final designs for the five 2017 coins should be unveiled early in that year shortly before the first strike of the year is released. A glimpse of what the coins might look like will be given the previous year when design candidates for each strike are released for review and comment.
Each America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin will be struck from .999 fine silver – five ounces of it, in fact. That, along with the coins diameter of three inches makes them the largest bullion pieces produced by the Mint.
Since both the obverse and reverse designs must match the quarter dollars, the only place left to show the bullion coins content is on the edge. As such, an edge inscription will feature the coins weight and fineness.
A brief section of information on each of the selected 2017 sites is provided below:
Effigy Mounds National Monument
Recalling a society of Native Americans that lived in the region beginning well over a millennia ago, Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa also pays tribute to the unique sites they created.
Mound building was not uncommon for many Native American tribes throughout the centuries in North America. What proved to be unique about the Effigy Mounds area is the cluster of mounds in close proximity to each-other. Consisting of only 2,500 acres of monument land, over 200 mounds are now preserved within those borders.
Unfortunately, a lot of the history behind these mounds are now long forgotten. What is for certain is that the mounds served many purposes, some of which were ceremonial and sacred. In fact, many members of the twelve tribes currently affiliated with the Mound Monument still regard them as such today.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
As is typical with many national sites, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site located in the District of Columbia is meant to honor more of the person than of the structures contained within the site.
Located in Southeast Washington, D.C., the site preserves a home bought and resided in by the famous Frederick Douglass who was born around 1818 and died in 1895. Born a slave, Douglass learned to read and write by his early teens. This newfound knowledge led him to question the institution of slavery and by his late teens he had already tried to escape to freedom more than once.
At the age of 20, and with the help of a uniform and identification papers provided to him by a free man, Douglass successfully escaped to New York City. Over the next few decades, Douglass continued to foster his ideas of equality among all through his writings, his orations and his other business dealings.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
The Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri protect 80,000 acres of land and water for the continued public use. The Riverways was first established in 1964 and marked the first time a national park area was created for the protection of a wild river system.
Found on the banks of the Current and Jacks Forks Rivers, the Ozark sees an estimated 1.5 million visitors annually. Those who do come find a plethora of recreational activities at their fingertips.
Just a few of the things visitors can participate in include canoeing, hiking, boating, fishing, camping and hunting. Many consider the riverways the best float streams in the world owing to its source of springs making for a very consistent but extremely manageable flow.
Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty)
Perhaps no other location in the United States serves as a better reminder of the American melting pot than does Ellis Island National Monument in New Jersey and the nearby Statue of Liberty. Through the gates of this historic place, over 12 million people from around the world came to the United States in search of a better life.
Ellis Island, named after previous owner Samuel Ellis, was the site of Fort Gibson beginning in the early 1800’s with a purpose to protect the harbor of New York City. But, by the late 1800’s a switch in immigration policy in the country necessitated a federal inspection station in the area. Before this time, states were left the task of processing immigrants but now the task for the New York area and consequently a majority of the country was going to be handled by this new federal facility.
Opening on January 1, 1892, the U.S. Bureau of Immigration began the process of handing many of the new-comers to the nation at Ellis Island. Over the next several decades, over 12 million people would pass through the halls of Ellis Island in their quest to become Americans. The influx at Ellis peaked in 1907 when the bureau processed over 1 million people in that single year.
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
Signifying an important, if not typically overlooked portion of American Revolutionary War history, the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Indiana stands as a reminder of both the man and his band of frontier men who braved un-told challenges to insure the American frontier would not fall into the hands of the British.
Sent by the state of Virginia to protect the colonies interests in the frontier regions, George Rogers Clark was only in his mid twenties when he was charged with preventing further British influence in the area. The most senior America Revolutionary War officer in the frontier, Clark successfully captured several British forts on the lower Ohio and Mississippi valleys – one of which was Fort Sackville.
A few months after taking possession of Sackville, Clark learned that it had been re-taken by British forces. Not content to let that be, Clark led his men through winter-time conditions to lay siege to the fort. British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton was among those who surrendered to Clark on February 25, 1779 insuring American control of the region and it being eventually ceded to the United States in 1783.