The United States Mint recently unveiled the selected five reverse designs for the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters. The same designs will also be used on the investment-grade 2012 America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins and numismatic 2012 America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins.
These five final designs were chosen from a total of twenty-four design candidates released by the United States Mint in October 2010. Four to five candidates were offered for each of the 2012 quarters as created by artists for possible selection. For the year, the five sites honored in the three different America the Beautiful Coin Programs are:
- El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico
- Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico
- Acadia National Park in Maine
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii
- Denali National Park in Alaska
Shown on the obverse of each coin is the same portrait of George Washington. This image of the first President of the United States was initially used on the 1932 circulating quarter dollar and has been seen on quarters in one form or another ever since. It was designed by John Flanagan.
The five new reverse or tails side designs are offered below along with a short description of each. Release dates for the quarters are also listed. (The release dates for the bullion and numismatic silver coins have not been announced as of this writing.)
El Yunque National Forest (Puerto Rico)
The reverse of the El Yunque National Forest Coins will be emblematic of the forest with a scene depicting the tropical flora. Also shown in the design will be a Coqui tree frog and a Puerto Rican parrot representative of the creatures who are also known to dwell there. Reverse inscriptions will include EL YUNQUE, PUERTO RICO, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
This reverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Gary Whitley and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso.
The release date for the El Yunque National Forest Quarter is scheduled for January 23, 2012.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park (New Mexico)
The Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter and silver coins will honor the park with a design showing two elevated kivas that are part of the Chetro Ketl Complex. Also seen in the design are the north wall of Chetro Ketl and the north wall of the canyon. Inscriptions will include CHACO CULTURE, NEW MEXICO, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
This reverse was designed by AIP Master Designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
The release date for the Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter is scheduled for April 2.
Acadia National Park (Maine)
The Acadia National Park Quarter and silver coins will depict a view of the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse along Acadia’s rough coastline. Also shown on the reverse will be the inscriptions of ACADIA, MAINE, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
AIP Associate Designer Barbara Fox completed the design which was sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
The release date for the Acadia National Park Quarter is scheduled for June 11.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Quarter and silver coins will feature the Kilauea Volcano with an eruption occurring from its east rift. Reverse inscriptions will include HAWAI’I VOLCANOES, HAWAII, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The scene was both designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers.
The release date for the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Quarter is scheduled for August 27.
Denali National Park (Alaska)
The Denali National Park Quarters and silver coins will showcase the iconic Mount McKinley off in the distance with a Dall sheep shown in the foreground and the inscriptions of DENALI, ALASKA, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The reverse design is the work of AIP Master Designer Susan Gamble and was sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz.
The release date for the Denali National Park Quarter is scheduled for November 5.
Selection Process for Coin Designs
The selection process involved several individuals and groups including the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), the United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), the Secretary of the Interior, a liaison from the federal entity overseeing management of the honored locations as well as the chief executive of the host jurisdiction (state or territory). Taking comments from those parties into account, and the United States Mint, the Secretary of the Treasury was charged by the authorizing legislation (Public Law 110-456) to make the final selections.
The 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters and related five ounce silver coins mark the eleventh through fifteenth strikes of their respective series. All three programs debuted with five 2010-dated coins followed by five 2011-dated releases. Five new coins in each program are issued annually by the United States Mint, and that will continue until at least 2021 when the final release is scheduled appear.