The third release in 2014 of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program will be the 2014 Arches America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin. This coin is also the twenty-third strike of the fifty-six coin series which debuted in 2010 and runs through 2021.
As these coins are considered official bullion coins of the United States Government, they are guaranteed by the United States for their weight and purity. To identify their content, the coins weight and fineness will be inscribed on the edge.
Each coin in the program will be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver to a diameter of three inches. Similar to the circulating quarters released at the same time (also authorized by the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which created these bullion pieces), the obverse or heads side of each coin will contain a portrait of the first President of the United States, George Washington.
The reverse of this particular strike will showcase a portion of Arches National Park in Utah. Design candidates for the reverse should be released by the US Mint in early 2013 for review by the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts. Their comments, along with the comments of the governor of Utah and the Interior Secretary will be added to those of the Mint Director and forwarded to the Treasury Secretary who will make the final decision. His choice should be announced in early 2014 along with the choices for the other America the Beautiful strikes of that year.
By the end of the fifty-six coin series of which this coin is a part, there will be one strike from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US territories – Guam, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. These coins honor sites of national interest including national parks, national forests, national monuments, etc.
The US Mint will only sell these bullion coins to a network of authorized purchases who in turn will resell them to coin dealers and individuals for a small premium over the spot price of the five ounces of silver contained within them.
Coins honoring Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia will precede this Arches strike in 2014. Following it will be coins showcasing Great Sand Dunes National Park of Colorado and Everglades National Park in Florida.
Arches National Park in Utah
Arches National Park in Utah preserves over 2,000 sandstone arches including the world-famous Delicate Arch which stands 52-feet high and is widely considered an icon of not only the park, but of Utah itself.
Native Americans frequented this area for centuries before settlers of European descent started living in the region in earnest in the late 1800’s. Still, the beauty of the area was relatively unknown until the 1920’s when a push was made to preserve it for future generations.
Several government investigations were made into the area, and in 1929 Arches National Monument was created out of two small disconnected sections. In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt enlarged the monuments acreage and it remained that way until 1969 when President Lyndon B. Johnson significantly enlarged the monument once again. However, most of this acquisition was reversed in 1971 by then President Richard Nixon when he signed new legislation decreasing the monuments size, but changing its status to a national park.
While many think the park remains unchanged through the years, erosion has a constant effect on the natural structures found here. In fact, since 1970, over 40 arches have toppled due to its effects.
The park itself is located near Moab, Utah and consists of 119 square miles of park land ranging in elevation from the visitor center at 4,085 feet to Elephant Butte at 5,653 feet. Over 800,000 annual visitors come to the park to sight-see, camp and hike within its boundaries.