Shawnee Quarter Launch Ceremony Highlights

by Mike Unser on February 5, 2016 · 0 comments

Shawnee National Forest quarters were introduced to the public Thursday, Feb. 4, at a ceremonial event held in Southeastern Illinois College’s Deaton Gymnasium in Harrisburg, Illinois.

Shawnee National Forest quarter presentation

United States Mint Program Manager for Numismatic Packaging Dean Bidle presents Shawnee National Forest quarters struck on the first day of production to Supervisor Allen Nicholas and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell during the launch ceremony in Harrisburg, Ill, Feb. 4, 2016. The coin is the 31st release in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. U.S. Mint photo by Tracy Scelzo.

More than 1,300 packed into the gym for the official launch ceremony, including some 550 schoolchildren.

Shawnee quarter ceremony, attendees

More than 1,300 people packed the Deaton Gymnasium for the ceremonial launch of the Shawnee National Forest quarter. U.S. Mint photo by Tracy Scelzo.

After the event, kids received a shiny new Shawnee quarter for free while many adults swapped cash for $10 rolls of the new coin. About $25,000 in quarters were exchanged by Banterra bank, according to U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White.

Kids getting free Shawnee quarter

Children hold their new quarters. U.S. Mint photo by Tracy Scelzo.

Kids getting free Shawnee quarter, a

More children with their new quarters. U.S. Mint photo by Tracy Scelzo.

Shawnee quarter exchange line

Attendees wait in line to exchange money for rolls of new quarters. U.S. Mint photo by Tracy Scelzo.

Shawnee quarter exchange, Banterra bank

An attendee exchanged her paper currency for rolls of new quarters. U.S. Mint photo by Tracy Scelzo.

Guest speakers included U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell; Shawnee National Forest Supervisor Allen Nicholas; Deb Detmers, district director for U.S. Representative John Shimkus; Matt Rice, district director for U.S. Representative Mike Bost; Ben Barnes, Second Chief of the Shawnee Tribe; George Blanchard, representative of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma; Todd Carr, president of the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau; and Dean Bidle, program manager for Numismatic Packaging Planning at the United States Mint.

"Not only is the Shawnee National Forest quarter the 31st coin in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program – and the first quarter to be introduced into circulation in 2016 – it also is the fifth and last national forest to be honored in the program," said Bidle. "Millions of Americans will now have a reminder of the beauty of Southern Illinois through a quarter designed in the national forest’s honor."

Cindy Cain, executive director of the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau, served as master of ceremonies.

Shawnee National Forest Supervisor Allen Nicholas speaks at ceremony

Shawnee National Forest Supervisor Allen Nicholas speaks to the crowd at the Shawnee National Forest quarter launch. Behind him are Executive Director of the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau Cindy Cain; Ben Barnes, Second Chief, Shawnee Tribe; and George Blanchard, representative of the Eastern Shawnee. U.S. Mint photo by Tracy Scelzo.

Shawnee National Forest quarter pouring

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Shawnee National Forest Supervisor Allen Nicholas, Second Chief Ben Barnes, Eastern Shawnee Representative George Blanchard and United States Mint Program Manager for Numismatic Packaging Dean Bidle participate in the ceremonial coin pour during the launch. U.S. Mint photo by Tracy Scelzo.

Those who missed the launch ceremony don’t have to wait to find Shawnee quarters in change. The United States Mint started selling them on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Buying options include rolls and bags of circulating quality quarters produced at U.S. Mint facilities in San Francisco, Denver and Philadelphia. Prices for the U.S. Mint-branded products range from $18.95 for a roll of 40 quarters to $46.95 for a set of three-rolls.

Shawnee National Forest quarters

Shawnee quarters fill a basket following the ceremonial coin pour during the launch of the coin. The quarter is the 31st release in the U.S. Mint America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. U.S. Mint photo by Tracy Scelzo.

Shawnee National Forest Quarters, rolls and bags

Designed by Justin Kunz and sculpted by Jim Licaretz, the Shawnee National Forest quarter depicts a close view of Camel Rock with natural vegetation in the foreground and a red-tailed hawk soaring in the sky overhead.

On the evening before the ceremony, the U.S. Mint hosted a free coin forum with 70 enthusiasts attending. Coin forums offer a venue to express views and ask questions about existing, new and upcoming U.S. Mint products.

The U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program debuted in 2010. It will honor 56 national parks and other national sites in the U.S. and its territories through 2021.

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