The United States Mint at noon today started selling its latest product for coin collectors which features 2016 quarters in 90% silver and 10% copper. Labeled the America the Beautiful Quarters 2016 Silver Proof Set, this collection contains silver coins honoring the national sites in Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota and South Carolina.
Notably, this year’s set is probably the last to hold coins composed of 90% silver, but more on that later. Found within it are proofs honoring:
- Shawnee National Forest in Illinois
- Cumberland Gap National Historic Park in Kentucky:
- Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota
- Fort Moultrie at Fort Sumter National Monument in South Carolina
The 2016 issue appears as the seventh annual release in the America the Beautiful Quarter series which debuted in 2010 and features coins depicting reverse (tails side) designs emblematic of national sites of interest. For this set, each coin was produced at the U.S. Mint’s facility in San Francisco and bears an ‘S’ mint mark.
Seen on the obverse (heads side) of each program coin is a portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. This portrait has appeared on quarter dollars in variations since 1932 and was created by artist John Flanagan.
Robotic systems at the San Francisco Mint encase the proof silver quarters in a single protective lens. The Mint’s newest robotics line is 3X faster than older ones, able to fill 1,800 lenses in an hour. We’ll talk more about the multi-stage robotics line an upcoming article. For now, here are three photos that show some of its working:
Last Year for 90% Silver Quarters?
As mentioned, this is likely the last year for quarters in 90% silver. Late last year, the U.S. Mint was granted the authority to strike numismatic coins in higher silver purity, like .999 fine. The authorization came as part of the FAST Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 4, 2015. It struck the traditional 90/10 language and replaced it with "not less than 90 percent silver."
Priced at $31.95, this collectible is available from the U.S. Mint’s online page of silver coins or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
No mintage, ordering or household limits apply to this release. Last year’s set remains available and has reported sales of 97,119. The set from 2014 ended at 119,251.