Issued as the last of five 2018-dated strikes of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin™ series will be the 2018 Block Island America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin. Showcased on the reverse of the strike will be a design emblematic of Block Island National Wildlife Refuge located in the state of Rhode Island.
The US Mint will release this coin as the forty-fifth strike of its silver uncirculated coin series. The program debuted with five 2010-dated strikes and sees five new releases annually as part of it until the last of fifty-six new coins appears in 2021.
Each of the coins features a unique reverse design emblematic of a different site of national interest. One site was chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US territories with the release order of the coins dictated by the order in which the sites came under the direct control of the federal government.
The US Mint created this series of silver uncirculated coins as the numismatic versions of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins™ Program. As such, coins from both series feature the same basic specifications including a composition of five ounces of .999 fine silver and a diameter of three inches.
They also feature the same designs originally created for a third US Mint series – the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. This includes an obverse portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. This portrait of Washington was originally created by John Flanagan for use on the 1932 circulating quarter dollar and has appeared on quarters, with minor variations, ever since.
The reverse design of this coin will be emblematic of Block Island National Wildlife Refuge of Rhode Island. Design candidates for the coin should be unveiled by the US Mint sometime in mid-2017. The final design will be chosen by the Secretary of the Treasury after review by the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee, the Commission of Fine Arts and the Director of the United States Mint.
Block Island National Wildlife Refuge of Rhode Island
Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Atlantic coast of the state of Rhode Island. It was officially established on April 12, 1973.
The island itself is found about twelve miles off the main shore of Rhode Island. Access to it is by boat or ferry with the Block Island ferry departing from Point Judith on route 108.
The island serves as a refuge for many different species including over 70 species of migratory songbirds.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service uses the following to describe the refuge:
"Refuge lands on Block Island are most notable for the large concentration (over 70 species) of migratory songbirds which visit the area each fall. Located in the Atlantic flyway, many young, inexperienced songbirds "overfly" the mainland and stopover on Block Island before continuing their migration. The result is a cornucopia of young migratory songbirds from a variety of different species. Block Island is internationally recognized as one of the most important migratory bird habitats on the east Coast, attracting hundreds of "birders" to the Island each fall."