The 2011 Vicksburg America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin will be released as the fourth 2011-dated five ounce .999 fine silver strike in a series of collector grade coins from the United States Mint. These pieces represent Vicksburg National Military Park of Mississippi with a design showcased on their reverse.
Despite its 2011 date, the Vicksburg Silver Uncirculated Coin was not initially released until January 12, 2012. The late release is attributed to the late debut of the series in general which featured five 2010-dated inaugural year strikes which were were only issued in 2011. Their late appearance was caused by production difficulties experienced by the Mint for this series of uncirculated coins as well as associated bullion coins.
Each Vicksburg Silver Uncirculated Coin was initially sold for $204.95, the lowest debut price of any coin in the program. The strikes feature a maximum mintage of just 35,000.
This series of silver coins feature similar imagery as found on the circulating America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, also from the US Mint. However, these silver coins will be much larger owing to the fact that they are struck from five ounces of the precious metal.
Still, each will contain a reverse design emblematic of a selected site of national interest, just like the quarters. Honored sites include locations such as national parks, national monuments, etc. with one site selected from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US Territories, for a total of fifty-six locations to be honored before the program is completed in 2021.
As this coin is struck in honor of Vicksburg National Military Park, a design representative of that site will be included on its reverse. Specifically, the U.S.S. Cairo is shown steaming along the Yazoo River as it would have done during the American Civil War. A restored Cairo is currently on exhibit at Vicksburg. The design was completed by AIP Master Designer Thomas Cleveland and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
Also struck by the Mint is a third series of coins to also contain similar imagery – the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program. This series is struck for investors but will also be minted from five ounces of .999 fine silver just like the uncirculated series. The main difference between the two will be the uncirculated finish on the collector grade coins which typically results in a higher level of detail. Also, the uncirculated coins will contain a ‘P’ mintmark indicating they were struck at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia. No mintmark is present on the bullion coins.
All three series will contain John Flanagan’s portrait of George Washington on their obverse. The image of the first President of the United States was first used on the 1932 circulating quarter dollar and has been in use on the quarter ever since.
Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi
Vicksburg National Military Park is located mainly in the state of Mississippi. It was established on February 21, 1899 by an Act of Congress requiring the War Department to create the park to "commemorate the siege and defense of Vicksburg." Its management was turned over to the national park service on August 10, 1933.
The park recalls the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg and the greater Vicksburg Campaign which led up to it. The city was considered an important location to hold owing to its strategic position. As such, the Union forces of the United States prepared for several months before laying siege to the city for 47 days before Confederate forces there were forced to surrender.
Included as part of the park are 1,325 monuments, miles of trenches and other earthworks, a road, a trail, 144 cannon and even a restored US Navy gunboat known as the USS Cairo. The park is 1,852 acres in size and receives an estimated 700,000 annual visitors.