The 2015 Homestead America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin will be the first 2015 strike of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program. It also marks the twenty-sixth strike out of fifty-six new coins to appear as part of the 11-year series which launched in 2010 and runs through 2021.
These bullion coins will be a unique offering from the US Mint not only for their design, but also for their massive size and weight. Each coin in the series will be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver to a diameter of three inches.
As these bullion pieces are a companion series to the circulating quarters issued at the same time, they feature similar designs on their obverse and reverse. Also, the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which authorized both series dictates that the bullion pieces feature an edge inscription showing the coins weight and fineness.
The obverse of each of these bullion coins will feature an image of the first President of the United States George Washington. (Washington has been seen on the quarter dollar coins since 1932.)
On the reverse of this particular coin, we will see a design honoring Homestead National Monument of America located in Nebraska. The final design will probably be unknown until shortly before the coin is released in 2015. However, if the Mint follows its normal procedures, design candidates for the strike should make their way into the public news cycles sometime in the first quarter of 2014, at which time they will be reviewed and commented on by the appropriate individuals and groups. (This includes, but is not limited to the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Governor of Nebraska and the Interior Secretary.)
The America the Beautiful Silver Bullion program will include a total of fifty-six strikes when completed with one strike from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US territories – Guam, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. These strikes will showcase a site of national interest located within that jurisdiction and may honor a national park, national memorial, national forest, etc.
As typical for all bullion pieces from the US Mint, the coins will only be sold in bulk quantities directly to a network of authorized purchasers by the Mint. These purchasers will then resell coins in smaller quantities to coin dealers and individuals for a small mark-up above the current spot price of the silver contained within them.
Four other coins will follow the Homestead strike in 2015. They will honor Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana, Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware and Saratoga National Historical Park in New York.
Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska
Answering a call for those wanting "Free Land", the Homestead National Monument of America located in Nebraska honors those courageous and rugged individuals who ventured West into the frontiers of America to claim a small bit of land that the government was willing to transfer to them for free (provided they met certain requirements).
President Abraham Lincoln signed the original Homestead Act in 1862 which allowed for those wanting to obtain land for farming the ability to do so at little or no cost. Public land in the new territories of the growing country was divided into 160 acres (or 1/4 of a square mile sections). Those wanting to obtain one of these parcels needed to file an application, make improvements to the land and then file for a deed of title.
The 160 acres, while small for a farm today, was considered to be the largest amount of land a farmer of the time could realistically utilize. However, due to technological improvements as well as less productive land further West, the Homestead Act was modified allowing for larger parcels to be homesteaded in the following decades. Finally, deciding that the remaining public lands could best be utilized for the general use of the country, the Homestead Act was officially repealed in 1976 by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
The National Monument in Nebraska is located at the exact site of the first homestead claim ever created under the Act. It was filed by Daniel Freeman who submitted his claim January 1, 1863 – the very first day in which the Act went into effect.
His descendants agreed to sell the land to the federal government in the 1930’s so that a monument to the pioneering spirit could be created. On March 19, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt did just that when he created the Homestead National Monument of America.