Released as the third 2011 strike of a series of five ounce .999 fine silver numismatic issues from the US Mint is the 2011 Olympic America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin. These coins represent Olympic National Park of Washington with a design showcased on their reverse.
The United States Mint released the Olympic Silver Uncirculated Coin for sale on November 29, 2011. Upon release, each coin sold for $229.95. A maximum mintage of 35,000 was in place for the strikes.
The strikes are the collector versions of another series of coins struck by the US Mint for investors, known as the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program. Both series are composed of five ounces of .999 fine silver with the uncirculated coins produced for collectors whereas the bullion coins are struck mainly for investors. The main difference between the two series is that fact that the collector grade coins will feature an uncirculated finish which typically possessed finer detail than would be seen on a bullion strike. Also, the Mint’s America the Beautiful Five Ounce Uncirculated Coins will include a ‘P’ mintmark indicating they were struck at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia. The bullion coins contain no mintmark.
Both series will feature obverse and reverse imagery similar to a third series of strikes from the Mint known as the circulating America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. This program honors fifty-six sites of national interest from around the United States with one coin in each series representing a site from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US territories. The Mint will be striking five year-dated coins annually in each program which is scheduled to run from 2010-2021.
The America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 authorized both the quarter and bullion series and requires the obverse of each to contain a portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. This portrait was designed by John Flanagan and first used on the circulating quarter dollar in 1932.
The Mint is striking the uncirculated series of coins under the authority granted the Treasury Secretary in 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3) which allows the creation and distribution of numismatic pieces. However, the Mint has indicated that the designs on this series of coins will be similar to the bullion and quarter strikes.
Shown on the reverse of each piece will be a design emblematic of the selected site of national interest. As this specific coin was struck to represent Olympic National Park, a design showcasing the park will be shown. The chosen design shows Mount Olympus in the background with the Hoh River flowing through the design in the front. Shown stepping into the river is an iconic creature for the park, a Roosevelt Elk. The reverse was designed by AIP Master Designer Susan Gamble and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso.
Olympic National Park in Washington
Olympic National Park is found on the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington. It was originally created as Mount Olympus National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909. Congress voted to change its designation to that of a national park, which was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 29, 1938.
The park, while technically a part of the mainland, is home to many endemic creatures and plants owing to its relative isolation from the rest of the continent. That isolation was created by the fact that the peninsula that it is located on is cut off from the mainland by the Olympic Mountains. As such, species like the Olympic Marmot are known to only exist on the peninsula.
However, the most famous creature from the park would have to be the Roosevelt Elk, which is the largest of four surviving subspecies of elk in North America. In fact, the protection of the Roosevelt Elk was an important factor in the creation of the national park.
The park consists of 922,561 acres, a third of which is considered old-growth forests.