The 2020 Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin will be the fourth strike of 2020 to appear as part of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program. It is also the fifty-fourth coin out of fifty-six that are to be included in the program.
The reverse (tails side) of this particular strike will show an artistic representation of a portion of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park located in Vermont. The final look will probably be unknown until early in 2020 when all five of the America the Beautiful coin designs are unveiled for that year. Design candidates for the strike, however, should be made available in early 2019 when they are reviewed by the appropriate groups and individuals such as the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee.
A portrait of George Washington will be found on the obverse (heads side) of each coin. This is because this series of bullion coins is issued as a companion to the circulating quarters and will feature the same imagery. As the first President of the United States has been on the quarter dollar since 1932, his image will also be on the bullion coins.
Only a network of authorized purchasers will be allowed to buy the bullion coins directly from the Mint. This network is used for all of the Mint’s bullion pieces and buys them in bulk in order to resell them in smaller quantities or individually to coin dealers, collectors and investors.
Each coin in the series is struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver to a diameter of three inches making these coins the largest bullion pieces produced by the Mint. Also, the law authorizing the coins requires each piece to have its content inscribed on the edge of each piece.
The completed program will contain a total of fifty-six new coins with their reverses honoring sites of national interest from around the country. Sites of national interest include national parks, national forests, etc. Each state, the District of Columbia and the five US Territories (Guam, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico) will all have one coin created in their honor with one site chosen from within their jurisdictions.
As the fourth coin of the series to appear in 2020, it will have three coins preceding it which honor National Park of American Samoa in American Samoa, Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve in the U.S. Virgin Islands. One coin will follow the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller strike which will showcase Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve of Kansas.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont
Located in Vermont, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park may be named after the previous owners but it was their love of nature that truly led to the creation of the park.
George Perkins Marsh was an accomplished lawyer, diplomat and writer who also happened to be considered one of America’s first environmentalists. His book Man and Nature was mostly ignored during his life, but his thesis stating man had abused the land and must restore it would prove as his guideline for the remaining years on the estate where he grew up.
Frederick Billings was also a lawyer and President of the Northern Pacific Railway who purchased the Marsh estate after George passed away. Frederick would prove to be a devoted follower of the Marsh theory and purchased many of the surrounding farms with a goal to reforest them. He also created a state-of-the-art dairy farm in the area which is still in operation today along with a museum devoted to Billings.
Billings granddaughter married financier and philanthropist Laurence Rockefeller and the two retained ownership of the estate. They also continued the work of both Marsh and Billings up until 1992 when an arrangement was made to donate their home and farm to the National Park Service for a park dedicated to the history of conservation.
Today, visitors are treated not only the beautiful scenery of the area, but also to the story of conservation which helped to create it.