The 2016 Harpers Ferry America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin will be released by the United States Mint as the third of five 2016-dated issues of the America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin™ series. Shown on the reverse of each coin will be a design emblematic of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park located in the state of West Virginia.
There will be a total of fifty-six coins issued in the America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin series with each one honoring a different site of national interest from around the United States, the District of Columbia and the five US territories. Coins of the program are released at a rate of five per year with the first five being 2010-dated and the last one scheduled to be released in 2021.
Each America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin is struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver. They also feature the extremely large diameter of three inches.
These same specifications are also featured on the related America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins™ Program. In addition, the designs found on the silver uncirculated coins are also used on the silver bullion coins.
Their similarity is not without reason, however, as the US Mint created the silver uncirculated coins as the numismatic versions of the bullion coins. The authority to do this is part of the powers given the Secretary of the Treasury in 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3) to "prepare and distribute numismatic items."
While they may feature similar specifications and designs, the two series of coins are different for a couple of very important reasons. First, as numismatic items, the silver uncirculated coins are sold directly to the public and typically carry a significant premium over and above any melt value associated with them.
This differs from the bullion coins which are sold through the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers. Each coin is offered for a small premium above the current spot price of the five ounces of silver contained within them.
Another defining difference in the two series is the inclusion of a mintmark on the uncirculated coins. A ‘P’ mintmark on these strikes indicates they were struck at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia. Despite also being struck in Philadelphia, the bullion coins have not mintmark which is standard practice for US Mint bullion products.
Obverse and reverse designs for both series are actually originally created for a third US Mint series – the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. This includes an obverse portrait on each coin of George Washington, originally designed by John Flanagan.
The final reverse design for the Harpers Ferry Coins should be unveiled by the United States Mint in late 2015.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located in and around Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. It was officially established on June 30, 1944.
The site is of importance to national history as it has played an integral role throughout its development. After being used for centuries as a fording site across the rivers by Native Americans, a settler named Robert Harper built a ferry service at the location in the early days of the nation.
Shortly thereafter, a national armory was constructed at the site. This armory even supplied arms and ammunition to the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition. Harpers Ferry was also the location of John Brown’s Raid and served as a strategic site during the American Civil War.
The paragraph below is used by the National Park Service to describe the national historical park:
"Step Back in Time"
"A visit to this quaint, historic community, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, is like stepping into the past. Stroll the picturesque streets, visit exhibits and museums, or hike our trails and battlefields. Spend a day or a weekend. We have something for everyone, so come and discover Harpers Ferry!"