The final of five new 2012 strikes under the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program will be the 2012 Denali America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin. It also marks the fifteenth coin in the program overall which launched in 2010 and runs through 2021.
Under the terms of the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which authorized the series, the bullion coins will have similar designs to the circulating quarter dollars that will be released by the Mint at approximately the same time. However, as these bullion pieces are struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver, their weight and fineness will be edge inscribed. Each bullion coin will have a diameter of three inches.
The obverse will feature a portrait of the first President of the United States George Washington, just like seen on the quarters.
On the reverse of the Denali coin, an image of a portion of Denali National Park in Alaska will be showcased. Final designs for this image will probably not be known until early in 2012 when the Mint should unveil them. Design candidates, however, should appear for review the previous year. At that time, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts should offer their comments on the possible designs.
These comments, along with those of the governor of Alaska and the Interior Secretary will be combined with the recommendation of the Director of the Mint and forwarded to the Treasury Secretary who will make the final selection.
The complete America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin program calls for 56 new strikes to be released during the eleven year run at a rate of approximately five per year. Each coin is to feature a site of national interest like a national park, national recreation area or a national forest. One site is the be chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories — Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Only authorized purchasers are allowed to purchase these bullion strikes directly from the Mint. Once they have their supply, they then offer them for sale to coin dealers and individuals for a slight mark-up over the current spot price of the silver contained within them.
As the last of the five 2012 America the Beautiful Bullion strikes, it will be preceded by coins honoring El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park of New Mexico, Acadia National Park of Maine and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park of Hawaii.
Denali National Park in Alaska
Among many others things, Denali National Park in Alaska contains the highest mountain in North America known as Mount McKinley (or Denali) at 20,320.
Unknown to many is the fact that McKinley actually has more of a rise than the more famous Mount Everest. Of course, Everest’s peak is much higher at 29,029 feet, but that mountain actually sits on a plateau with a height of over 17,000 feet, giving Everest a rise of only 12,000 feet. McKinley’s base is only 2,000 feet high giving the mountain in Alaska a rise of nearly 18,000 feet.
The naming of the mountain and the park that contains it has been a contentious issue for some time. It was known as "Denali" (meaning ‘The High One’) by the local indigenous peoples for a long time before prospector William A. Dickey named the mountain in honor of presidential candidate (and soon to be President of the United States) William McKinley. McKinley did not even have a connection with the area as he resided in Ohio.
Understanding the beauty of the area and wanting to preserve it, Mount McKinley National Park was created in 1917. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter created a separate Denali National Monument in 1978. Finally, in 1980 the area was renamed to Denali National Park and Preserve to better reflect the local sentiment.
Today, an estimated 1.1 million visitors come to the park annually to take in the breathtaking scenery it has to offer and catch just a glimpse of the thousands of square miles contained within it.