The 2010 Grand Canyon America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin is the fourth of five 2010-dated releases in a series of collector grade silver coins from the US Mint. These strikes honor Grand Canyon National Park of Arizona with a design on their reverse.
The Grand Canyon Silver Uncirculated Coin made its debut from the US Mint on June 29, 2011. Taking just over two months, the entire mintage of 27,000 had been sold by August 31, 2011. While still impressive, the two months of availability was significantly longer than had been seen for the previous releases of the series.
2010 marks the inaugural year for the strikes, which are the numismatic versions of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program. As such, both series of coins are struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver. Also, the 2010-dated strikes from both programs feature a 3 inch diameter and have an edge inscription indicating the coin’s weight and fineness of .999 FINE SILVER 5.0 OUNCE. The diameter and edge inscription may change in the future, however, as the initial law which authorized the bullion strikes (America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008) has been modified by subsequent legislation allowing the Mint adjust the diameter to be somewhere in the range of 2.5 inches to 3.0 inches and omitting the edge inscription requirement altogether.
The collector grade silver coins are struck to uncirculated quality which typically means they are struck with more force resulting in a higher degree of detail than will be found on the bullion strikes. Also, as a numismatic item, the Mint will include a mintmark on each coin of P indicating they were struck at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia. The bullion strikes contain no mintmark.
Both series of silver coins will feature obverse and reverse imagery similar to that found on the circulating America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, also from the US Mint. As such, the obverse will show a portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States, as designed by John Flanagan.
The reverses of all three series will showcase a design emblematic of the selected site of national interest from around the United States. One site was selected from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US Territories for a total of fifty-six locations to be honored at a rate of five per year until the programs are completed in 2021.
The Grand Canyon Silver Coin honors Grand Canyon National Park of Arizona by showing a scene of the granaries above the Nankoweap Delta in Marble Canyon near the Colorado River. The design is the work of U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park is located in the state of Arizona and received several levels of federal protection before attaining the national park status. President Benjamin Harrison declared it as the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. Then, in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt changed it to the Grand Canyon Game Preserve followed by a change to the Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. Finally, it was declared a national park on February 26, 1919 by an Act of Congress signed by President Woodrow Wilson.
All of those steps sought to protect the massive Colorado River gorge which runs for a total of 277 miles, at times reaching widths of up to eighteen miles and depths of one mile. The park itself is 1.2 million acres big and receives well over four million visitors annually.
Most of those visitors spend their time viewing the canyon from the South Rim where a majority of the visitor facilities are located. The South Rim is also the most accessible to the population bases in the area. From there, those wanting more of an adventure can hike on trails to the bottom or even take mule rides down.
The North Rim is also available for those wanting to experience the Grand Canyon. However, its remote location is more difficult to access and it is closed during some winter months.