The 2018 Cumberland Island America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin will be the fourth strike of 2018 to appear as part of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program. This coin also marks the forty-fourth in the fifty-six coin program which debuted in 2010 and runs through 2021.
All of the coins in the series were authorized by the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which also created a program of circulating quarter dollars to appear at the same time as these bullion coins and feature the same designs. As such, a portrait of George Washington will be found on the obverse (heads side) of each and every piece of the program.
The reverse of this coin will showcase a portion of Cumberland Island National Seashore which is located in Georgia. The final design for the coin will probably only be unveiled in early 2018 before the first America the Beautiful strike of that year is released. Design candidates, however, should be available from the Mint in early 2017 when they request comments on them from the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts. Both of those groups are tasked with the duty of recommending coin designs for American coinage. Their input along with that of the Governor of Georgia and the Interior Secretary will be forwarded to the Treasury Secretary who will make the final decision.
In all, the complete America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin Program will contain a total of fifty-six new coins. Each strike is required to honor a different site of national interest which could include national forests, national parks, national monuments, etc. To insure an even representation of sites throughout the country, only one site was chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five territories of the United States (Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands).
The US Government guarantees the content of these bullion pieces and has required the Mint to inscribe each coins weight and purity on the edge. Each coin will be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver to a diameter of three inches making them the largest bullion coin produced by the Mint.
Only a network of authorized purchasers will be able to buy the bullion coins directly from the Mint. This is typical for all bullion products produced by the US Government. The network will then resell the coins to coin dealers and individuals for a small premium over the spot price of the silver contained within them making them affordable instruments of investment for the precious metal.
As the fourth coin to appear in 2018 as part of the program, the Cumberland Island strike will be preceded by three other coins which honor Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin and Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. One coin will follow to honor Block Island National Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island.
Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia
Established by Congress in 1972 and administered by the National Park Service, Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia is located on that state’s largest and southernmost barrier island. The Seashore protects a diverse landscape which includes marshes, maritime forests and undeveloped beaches.
First inhabited by Native Americans, European settlers were quick to realize the beauty and potential of Cumberland Island. By the time of the American Revolutionary War, cotton plantations were already cropping up on the island with famed inventor Eli Whitney even taking part. His invention the cotton gin revolutionized the industry by removing most of the labor involved with separating the cotton fibers from the seeds.
Those visiting Cumberland Island will be impressed by the area’s temperate climate year-round. Average temperatures in the summer hover in the 80’s while the winter months only drop down to the 60’s. Humidity, however is another factor. Morning humidity is routinely in the 90% range with a drop only to the 60% range by mid-afternoon.
Still visitors enjoy activities like hiking, camping, birding, shelling, sight-seeing, etc. while on the island. Reservations for camping are highly recommended.
Those thinking of visiting will also want to plan ahead to get access to the island. It is only accessible by boat or ferry with the ferry service accepting reservations in advance.