The Hot Springs America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin is the inaugural strike of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin series and contains a reverse design emblematic of Hot Springs National Park, located in the state of Arkansas.
Sales of the Hot Springs Silver Uncirculated Coin began by the US Mint on April 28, 2011. Demand was brisk, especially upon release when collectors swarmed the Mint with orders even bringing down the Mint’s online store. Within the first nine hours of availability, 19,000 of the 27,000 maximum mintage had been ordered. However, it would take two more weeks before the Mint declared a sell-out on May 12, 2011.
The 2010 strikes of the series are composed of five ounces of .999 fine silver struck to a diameter of three inches. These specifications make them nearly identical to the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ series, also issued by the Mint. The defining difference between the two series is the fact that the bullion coins are struck for investors to bullion quality and thus have no mintmark whereas the uncirculated coins are struck for collectors with an uncirculated collector grade finish and feature a P mintmark indicating they were produced at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia.
Both contain an edge inscription indicating the coin’s weight and fineness of .999 FINE SILVER 5.0 OUNCE.
Of interest, both the edge inscription and the diameter of three inches may change on strikes of the programs in future years. That is because both were required by the initial law that authorized the bullion coins (America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008) and were thus also applied to the uncirculated coins (which were struck under the authority granted the Treasury Secretary under 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3)). However, Congress has since authorized changes that would eliminate the edge inscription requirement and allow the coin’s diameter to be in the 2.5 inch to 3.0 inch range.
Both silver coins series feature obverse and reverse imagery similar to the circulating America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. This means that the obverse will contain a portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. That same portrait has been featured on the quarter dollars since 1932 and was completed by John Flanagan.
The reverse of the strike contains an image emblematic of Hot Springs National Park, located in the state of Arkansas. Don Everhart created the design and Joseph Menna sculpted it to show the park’s main entry into the headquarters building with a thermal fountain in front of it.
Unlike the bullion coins which are sold through the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers, these uncirculated coins were sold directly to the public by the Mint.
Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas
Hot Springs National Park has the honor of being the first land set aside by the federal government for its protection when the Hot Springs Reservation was created on April 20, 1832. This was done at the request of the Arkansas Territorial Legislature who feared that the area was being exploited. Its status was changed to that of a national park on March 4, 1921.
Its preservation was desired to protect the thermal waters which flowed through the area from Hot Springs Mountain. These waters were seen as therapeutic and had been used for centuries by Native Americans long before European settlers "discovered" the benefits.
However, those looking to make a quick profit from the warm waters were known to alter the flows and disturb the environment in an effort to capture a portion of the millions of gallons that trickled through the area daily. To prevent further damage, the National Park System assumed control in 1921 and still regulates the use of the water today.
Hot Springs National Park is the smallest national park by size, but it still receives an estimated 1.2 million visitors annually. Many of those enjoy the thermal waters in modern spas or pools whose owners have purchased a portion of the flow from the Park Service.