The 2017 Ellis Island America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin will be the fourth strike of 2017 to appear as part of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program. The coin marks the thirty-ninth strike of the series which debuted in 2010 and runs until 2021 with a total of fifty-six new coins.
Each coin in the series is required to be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver to a diameter of three inches according to the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which authorized this program along with a companion circulating quarter dollar program. To signify the coins content and its purity guaranteed by the government of the United States, each silver bullion piece will feature an edge inscription showing the coins weight and purity.
As both America the Beautiful programs (the silver bullion and the quarter dollar) are to contain the same imagery, the obverse (heads side) of both will have a portrait of the first President of the United States, George Washington, on them. Washington has been found on the circulating quarter dollar since 1932.
Ellis Island National Monument including the Statue of Liberty will be featured in some fashion on the reverse (tails side) of this particular strike. Design candidates should first appear for public viewing in the first part of 2016 when they will also be reviewed and commented on by the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee. Their comments along with those of the governor of New Jersey 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 decision. That selection should be unveiled during the early months of 2017 before the first America the Beautiful strike releases that year.
In total, fifty-six new coins will be included as part of this program, with five being released annually. Each coin in the program will feature a different site of national interest. One site has already been chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US Territories. A site of "national interest" encompasses locations like national parks, national forests, national monuments, etc.
All bullion products of the Mint are not available directly for purchase by the public. Instead, a network of authorized purchasers is allowed to order the bullion in bulk from the Mint, and then resells the coins in smaller quantities to the public for a small premium over the spot price of the silver contained within them.
Since the Ellis Island strike is the fourth coin to appear in 2017 for the program, it will be preceded by three other coins including coins honoring Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. and Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri. The one coin due to follow the Ellis piece will honor George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Indiana.
Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty) in New Jersey
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.
By 1924, another change in immigration policy which required most paperwork and inspections to occur at American embassies in other countries foreshadowed the end of Ellis Island as it had come to be known. It still served as a processing center for refugees and displaced persons but that would also end by 1954. It is estimated that one-third of the United States population today can trace its ancestry through the Ellis Island facility.
On nearby Liberty Island, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The structure had been given to the United States by the country of France to represent the friendship of the two countries. Since its construction, the statue has served as an icon for the American way.