On Tuesday, October 5, CoinNews.net published an article that included an edge view of the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins. The United States Mint started producing them on September 21, 2010, and they will launch later this year.
The single image provided in the article illustrated that the five-ounce silver coins are more detailed than the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters™ which share the same designs. Mint officials confirmed their increased detail, which can be seen even clearer when looking at additional coin images released by the Mint since, and shown below.
Before getting to those images, again a quick recap as to why the silver coins are much sharper than the circulating quarters, as explained by U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White:
"Feature-wise, the designs are identical, however, the relief on the 3-inch bullion coin is reduced because of the ratio of the thickness to diameter is lower on the bullion coin. More detail will be present on the 3 inch since each work die is engraved and not hubbed. The hubbing process (used on standard coins like the quarters) softens the design and removes detail."
And now, U.S. Mint images of each 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Coin and uncirculated images of each 2010 America the Beautiful Quarter (images may be enlarged with a click).
2010 Hot Springs National Park Coins
The image on the reverse (tails side) of the coins depict the facade of the Hot Springs National Park headquarters building with a fountain in the foreground. The headquarters was built in the Spanish colonial revival style and completed in 1936. The National Park Service emblem is featured to the right of the door. Inscriptions are HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed by Don Everhart and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
2010 Yellowstone National Park Coins
The image on the reverses feature Old Faithful geyser with a mature bull bison in the foreground. Inscriptions are YELLOWSTONE, WYOMING, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed and sculpted by Don Everhart.
2010 Yosemite National Park Coins
The image on the reverse of the coins, designed by Joseph Menna and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, depict the iconic El Capitan, which rises more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor and is the largest monolith of granite in the world. Inscriptions are YOSEMITE, CALIFORNIA, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
2010 Grand Canyon National Park Coins
The image on the above reverses features a view of the granaries above the Nankoweap Delta in Marble Canyon near the Colorado River. Marble Canyon is the northernmost section of the Grand Canyon. Granaries were used for storing food and seeds (A.D. 500). Inscriptions are GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.
2010 Mount Hood National Forest Coins
The image on the reverses, designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, depicts a view of Mount Hood with Lost Lake in the foreground. Inscriptions are MOUNT HOOD, OREGON, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
As a side note, the original designs for the coins were revealed by the United States Mint on March 24, 2010.
5 ounce Silver Bullion Coin Release Information
The five-ounce America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins will be available through the U.S. Mint’s network of Authorized Purchasers. Mint officials have not published release dates, but they have confirmed that they will be issued in staggered intervals. Since the Mint will not offer them directly to the public, buyers will need to locate resellers. A starting place will be to look for coin dealers who currently offer bullion American Silver Eagle, bullion American Gold Eagle or bullion American Platinum Eagle coins.
Another potential distributor for the coins is the National Park Service. The authorizing law for the series permits the NPS to purchase quantities of at least 1,000 at a time and resell them to the public. NPS officials have not indicated as to whether they will offer them this year.
The maximum mintage for each .999 fine silver bullion coin in 2010 is 100,000, with a total of 500,000 across all five. According to Mint officials earlier in the year, there is a possibility for collector versions. However, there is no information available at this time on if that will happen.
Premiums charges for the coins above spot price are also not determined as of this writing. The Mint recently increased the premiums for American Silver Eagles from $1.50 to $2.00 per coin. As the America the Beautiful Silver Coins are larger and more expensive to produce — a new press just for their production was purchased, premiums are expected to be substantially higher. At a silver spot of $22.50 an ounce, the five-ounce silver coins would have an intrinsic value of about $113. Extrapolating the $2 premium charged for each one-ounce Silver Eagle to the five-ounce coins, the absolute minimum authorized dealers would have to pay at current silver prices would be $123 for each. It would not be surprising to see the coins sold for at least $140+ at the current silver spot.