The 2017 George Rogers Clark America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin will be the last strike of 2017 to appear as part of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program. The coin numbers fortieth out of fifty-six new coins created in the series which debuted in 2010 and runs through 2021.
These silver bullion coins were authorized by the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which also created a companion series of circulating quarter dollars. According to the act, both the quarters and the bullion pieces will have identical designs with an image of George Washington, the first President of the United States featured on the obverse (heads side) of each coin.
The reverse of both series are dedicated to the beauty of the nation by showcasing sites of national interest from around the country. One site was chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five territories of the Untied States for a total of fifty-six locations. The chosen sites all had to be federal in ownership and thus include many national parks, national monuments, national refuges, etc.
For this particular strike, George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Indiana will be featured on the reverse (tails side). Design candidates showing a portion of the park should be released for comment and review by the US Mint in early 2016. After the appropriate groups and individuals have made their suggestions, the Mint Director will forward that information along with his or her own recommendation to the Treasury Secretary who is charged with making the final selection. That choice should be made public in early 2017 before the first America the Beautiful strike is released that year.
Each of the bullion coins is guaranteed by the United States government for content and purity. As such, an edge inscription will be placed on each coin showing the coins weight of five ounces and its purity of .999 fine silver. The coins diameter of three inches makes it the largest bullion piece to be produced by the Mint.
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 George Rogers Clark bullion coin is the last to appear in 2017 as part of the series, it will be preceded by four other coins which honor Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C., Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri and Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty) in New Jersey.
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Indiana
Signifying an important, if not typically overlooked portion of American Revolutionary War history, the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Indiana stands as a reminder of both the man and his band of frontier men who braved un-told challenges to insure the American frontier would not fall into the hands of the British.
Sent by the state of Virginia to protect the colonies interests in the frontier regions, George Rogers Clark was only in his mid twenties when he was charged with preventing further British influence in the area. The most senior America Revolutionary War officer in the frontier, Clark successfully captured several British forts on the lower Ohio and Mississippi valleys – one of which was Fort Sackville.
A few months after taking possession of Sackville, Clark learned that it had been re-taken by British forces. Not content to let that be, Clark led his men through winter-time conditions to lay siege to the fort. British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton was among those who surrendered to Clark on February 25, 1779 insuring American control of the region and it being eventually ceded to the United States in 1783.
Unfortunately, over time, the exact location of Fort Sackville was lost and no archeological evidence has been found to identify its original coordinates. However, the fort was most certainly located within the Historical Parks current boundaries. Still, in the 1930’s, the state of Indiana decided to build a memorial to the historic events and the man behind them where it best believed the fort to have been.
Dedicated in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the memorial remained under state control until 1966 when it was transferred to the National Park Service.
Of interest, George Rogers Clark was the older brother of a more famous frontiersman – William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame who explored the Louisiana Purchase in the early 1800’s.