Appearing as the last of five 2013-dated strikes released by the United States Mint as part of its America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin™ series is the 2013 Mount Rushmore America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin. This release shows a reverse design emblematic of Mount Rushmore National Memorial located in the state of South Dakota.
Other coins in the series showcase additional sites of national interest on their reverses. A total of fifty-six coins will be issued under the program which is struck as the numismatic versions of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins™.
Both the bullion and these uncirculated coins actually take their designs from yet a third US Mint series – the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. Congress authorized the quarters and the bullion coins with the passage of the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which became Public Law 110-456. The uncirculated coins are struck under the authority granted the Secretary of the Treasury in 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3) to “prepare and distribute numismatic items.”
The bullion and the uncirculated coins are each struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver. They also each have a diameter of three inches. These specifications were originally required by Congress for the bullion coins but the diameter requirement has since been adjusted to allow for changes, although the US Mint has decided not to make any.
Five coins are released annually in each America the Beautiful series with the first five being struck in 2010. The final coins will be issued in 2021 under the original programs.
As these coins contain designs based on the circulating quarter dollars, the obverse of each showcases a portrait of the first President of the United States, George Washington. This portrait should be a familiar one to many as it has been used, with minor variations, on quarters since 1932.
The reverse shows the design emblematic of the selected site of national interest, in this case Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The final design for the coins should be unveiled by the US Mint in late 2012.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial of South Dakota
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is described by the South Dakota State Department of Tourism with:
"This epic sculpture features the faces of four exalted American presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. South Dakota’s Black Hills provide the backdrop for Mount Rushmore, the world’s greatest mountain carving. These 60-foot high faces, 500 feet up, look out over a setting of pine, spruce, birch, and aspen in the clear western air."
The sculpture was started in 1927 under the direction of sculptor Gutzon Borglum. Construction continued almost non-stop until 1941. Mount Rushmore has remained unchanged since then.