The first of five strikes of 2020 to appear as part of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program will be the 2020 National Park America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin. The strike numbers fifty-one in the fifty-six coin series which debuted in 2010 and runs until 2021 at a rate of five new issues per year.
The National Park of American Samoa will be featured on the reverse (tails side) of this strike. The final design for the coin has not been selected as of yet. In fact, design candidates for the strike will probably only be released in early 2019 when they are reviewed and commented on by the appropriate groups and agencies. Then, in early 2020 shortly before this strike is released, all of the America the Beautiful coins to be released that year should be unveiled by the Mint.
The obverse (heads side) will contain a portrait of George Washington. The first President of the United States has been featured on the quarter dollars since 1932, and since these bullion coins are a companion series to the circulating quarter, his portrait is seen on them as well.
When the coins become available, they will only be sold by the Mint to a network of authorized purchasers. This network is used for all of the Mint’s bullion products and is used as a middle-man for the coins. After the network has received their orders, they resell the coins to coin dealers and individuals for a small premium over the spot price of the precious metal contained within them.
The America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which authorized these bullion coins requires an edge inscription to be placed on each one showing the coins content. Accordingly, five ounces and .999 fine silver will be found on the edge. Also, each coin is struck to a diameter of three inches making them larger than any other bullion product of the Mint.
As state before, there is a total of fifty-six coins in this series, with each one representing a different site of national interest – one from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US Territories (Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands). National interest sites include national parks, national forest, national monuments, etc.
Four other coins will follow the National Park of American Samoa strike in 2020 as part of the America the Beautiful series. They include coins honoring Weir Farm National Historic Site of Connecticut, Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve of the US Virgin Islands, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park of Vermont and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve of Kansas.
National Park of American Samoa in American Samoa
The National Park of American Samoa in American Samoa was established in 1988 by an Act of Congress with several goals in mind. In fact, the authorizing act even stated some of them:
“ . . to preserve and protect the tropical forest and archeological and cultural resources of American Samoa, and of associated reefs, to maintain the habitat of flying foxes, preserve the ecological balance of the Samoan tropical forest, and, consistent with the preservation of these resources, to provide for the enjoyment of the unique resources of the Samoan tropical forest by visitors from around the world.”
With all of that in mind, the Park Service started about the task of creating a park. Unfortunately, the park was off to a slow start because the communal property system in place on American Samoa prevented the government from buying any land for the park. The situation was resolved in 1993, however, when the federal government was able to reach agreements with the Samoan government and several Samoan village councils to lease some desired locations for fifty years.
With the agreement in place, the Park Service acquired leases for land on four different islands of Samoa essentially creating three different parks. The islands of Ta’u hosts Lata Mountain and its remote tropical forests and rugged coastlines. Ofu and Olosega have beautiful coral reefs and miles of pristine beaches. Finally, Tutuila offers the most accessible forest areas along with a scenic coastline.
In total, National Park of American Samoa consists of 10,500 acres with about 75% of it being land and 25% being water area. While not extremely big, visitors should remember that the entire American Samoa land area is only 76 square miles.