The second of five 2017 strikes of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program will be the 2017 Frederick Douglass America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin. The competed program will include a total of fifty-six new coins with this Douglass piece numbering thirty-seven.
All of the coins in the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin program will be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver to a diameter of three inches making them the largest bullion coins produced by the US Mint. To acknowledge the government’s guarantee of the coins composition, its weight and fineness will be edge inscribed on each piece.
These coins will feature identical designs to those found on the America the Beautiful Quarter Dollars which will be released at approximately the same time. As such, the obverse (or heads side) of each coin will show a portrait of George Washington. The first President of the United States, Washington has been on the obverse of the quarter dollar since 1932.
An image of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site found in the District of Columbia will be featured on the reverse (tails side) of this particular strike. Design candidates for the coin should be reviewed by the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts in early 2016 giving the public its first glimpse as to what the coin might look like. Final design selection should be announced in early 2017 shortly before the first America the Beautiful strike is released that year.
Both America the Beautiful Coin programs will feature five new coins a year with each coin showcasing a different site of national interest. One site has been chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five territories of the United States (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands).
The bullion coins will not be available directly to the public from the US Mint. Instead, a network of authorized purchasers will buy them in bulk, and resell them to the public for a small mark-up over the spot price of the five ounces of silver contained within them. This process is not unique to the America the Beautiful coins as it is the same procedure used by the Mint for all of their bullion coins.
A coin honoring Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa will precede the Douglass coin in 2017. Three coins will follow the Douglas coin and honor Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri, Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty) in New Jersey and George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Indiana.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in the District of Columbia
As is typical with many national sites, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site located in the District of Columbia is meant to honor more of the person than of the structures contained within the site.
Located in Southeast Washington, D.C., the site preserves a home bought and resided in by the famous Frederick Douglass who was born around 1818 and died in 1895. Born a slave, Douglass learned to read and write by his early teens. This newfound knowledge led him to question the institution of slavery and by his late teens he had already tried to escape to freedom more than once.
At the age of 20, and with the help of a uniform and identification papers provided to him by a free man, Douglass successfully escaped to New York City. Over the next few decades, Douglass continued to foster his ideas of equality among all through his writings, his orations and his other business dealings.
Douglass bought the home which is currently the location of the historic site in 1877 and named it Cedar Hill. Douglass continued to live here until his death in 1895. The house remained in private hands until 1962 when the deed was given to the federal government with an aim to restore the structure and open it to the public.