The second of five 2014-dated strikes of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin™ series will be the 2014 Shenandoah America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin. Shown on the reverse of the strike will be a design emblematic of Shenandoah National Park located in the state of Virginia.
This coin also marks the twenty-second to appear in the series overall which debuted with five 2010-dated strikes. That same year also saw the debut of two other America the Beautiful related series from the US Mint.
The first of which was the e=”America the Beautiful Quarters” target=”_blank”>America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. This new series of circulating quarter dollars was authorized by Congress with the passage of the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 which became Public Law 110-456.
The purpose of the law according to the text of the legislation was:
"To provide for a program for circulating quarter dollar coins that are emblematic of a national park or other national site in each State, the District of Columbia, and each territory of the United States, and for other purposes."
Along with the quarters, the same act also authorized the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins™. These bullion coins were (and do) feature the same basic designs as the quarters but were to be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver and feature a diameter of three inches.
Recognizing the likelihood of collector demand for the bullion coins, the US Mint also created this series series of uncirculated coins. The Secretary of the Treasury (and by extension the United States Mint) is authorized to create new coins and/or series in 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3) which allows the office to “prepare and distribute numismatic items.”
The uncirculated coins feature the same specifications as the bullion coins such as being composed of five ounces of .999 fine silver and a diameter of three inches. The only discerning differences between coins of the two series is the inclusion of a mintmark on the uncirculated coins as well as the fact that the uncirculated coins are sold directly to the public by the US Mint. The related bullion coins contain no mintmark and are sold through a network of authorized purchasers.
As the designs for the uncirculated coins are taken from the associated quarter dollars, the obverse of each showcases the same portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan that has been featured in one form or another on quarters since 1932. The reverse design for this coin is emblematic of Shenandoah National Park. Design candidates for the reverse should appear from the US Mint in mid-2013 with a final design announced later that year.
Shenandoah National Park of Virginia
Shenandoah National Park is found in part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the state of Virginia. The national park was established on December 26, 1935 after several years of land acquisition by the state of Virginia which was turned over to the federal government for the sole purpose of the creation of a national park.
Approximately 40% of the national park is designated wilderness, however, most visitors to the park just take in the scenery along Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive runs for 105-miles along the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers panoramic views of the wilderness in many locations.
The National Park Service describes Shenandoah National Park with:
"Just 75 miles from the bustle of Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park is your escape to recreation and re-creation. Cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas, quiet wooded hollows—plan a hike, a meander along Skyline Drive, or a picnic with the family. 200,000 acres of protected lands are haven to deer, songbirds, the night sky…and you. Plan a Shenandoah escape today!"