Released as the fourteenth issue of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program will be the 2012 Hawai’i Volcanoes America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin. The piece is also the fourth bullion strike of the program to be released in 2012.
Each of these America the Beautiful Silver Bullion coins will feature designs that replicate those found on the Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program. However, the bullion pieces will be struck to a much larger diameter of three inches from five ounces of .999 fine silver. In order to not alter the basic obverse and reverse designs, the weight and purity of the bullion strikes will be edge inscribed.
George Washington, the first President of the United States, will be featured on the obverse of each America the Beautiful quarter and silver bullion coin.
On the reverse of this particular issue, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park will be showcased (at least a portion of the park). Final designs for the coin should be unveiled by the Mint in early 2012 before the first America the Beautiful strike is released that year. Design candidates will make their way into the public view the previous year when they are submitted for comment by the Mint to the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts.
Once those two groups have commented on the designs, their opinions along with the opinions of the Governor of Hawai’i and the Secretary of the Interior will be compiled by the Mint Director. Then, along with his or her recommendation, they will all be forwarded to the Treasury Secretary who must make the final decision according to the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which authorized the series.
Further terms under the program state that up to five new strikes will appear each year from 2010 through 2021. Each coin is to feature a site of national interest like a national park, national recreation area or a national forest. One site is the be chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories — Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The US Mint sells these bullion pieces to a network of authorized purchasers and not directly to the public. The authorized purchasers then resell them to coin dealers and individuals for a slight mark-up over the spot price of the silver contained within them.
As stated before, the Hawai’i Volcanoes coin is the fourth to be released that year under the bullion program. It will be preceded by coins showcasing El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park of New Mexico and Acadia National Park of Maine. To complete the five strikes for that year, the Hawai’i coin will be followed by a coin honoring Denali National Park of Alaska.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in Hawai’i
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is located in Hawai’i as you might expect, but new travelers to the park are usually in awe over the unique attributes that it has to offer over others in the national system.
Created over millennia, the features of Volcanoes National Park have been attracting visitors from the earliest days of native peoples on the island. More recently, the first western visitors set eyes on Kīlauea (one of the volcanoes of the island) in 1823. By the 1840’s, the region had become somewhat of a tourist destination aided by a string of hotels built on the rim by local businessmen.
In 1866, soon to be famous author Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) visited the islands and penned a series of letters to a newspaper back on the main land. In his words, we are treated to a vision he experienced of the lava currently in view:
"The greater part of the vast floor of the desert under us was as black as ink, and apparently smooth and level; but over a mile square of it was ringed and streaked and striped with a thousand branching streams of liquid and gorgeously brilliant fire!" exclaimed Mark Twain in letters written during his visit to the volcano region. "It looked like a colossal railroad map of the State of Massachusetts done in chain lightning on a midnight sky. Imagine it – imagine a coal-black sky shivered into a tangled network of angry fire!"
In 1916, Hawaii National Park was created becoming the eleventh national park in the country, and the first to be in a territory (Hawaii became a state in 1959).
Visitors to the park today are treated to a creeping flow of lava on the East Rift Zone of Kilauea. Over the decades that this has been occurring, the island has actually been growing as the hot molten rock has hit the cool ocean waters on the coast creating new land.
The park has grown in other ways recently as well. A 56% addition was added in 2004 when 115,788 acres was bought from the Samuel Mills Damon Estate for $21.9 million.