America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act became law today with President Bush’s signature. The bill authorizes a new series of 56 quarter designs at a rate of five per year beginning in 2010.
The law mandates that each quarter will be "emblematic of a national park or other national site in each State, the District of Columbia, and each territory of the United States."
The Treasury Secretary will select the final list for respective quarter designs within 270 days and after consulting with the Secretary of the Interior and the governor or other chief executive of each State. The quarter series will last for at least 11 years, but an optional provision provides the Treasury Secretary the authority to extend the series past 2030.
The legislation, H.R. 6184, was introduced by Rep. Michael Castle [R-DE], Rep. Luis Gutierrez [D-IL], and Carolyn Maloney [D-NY] on June 4, 2008. It passed rather quickly through the House on July 9 and then, in complete surprise, sailed through the lame duck Senate session on December 10.
An intriguing section in the new law also calls for a massive silver bullion duplicate of each quarter that is 3.0 inches diameter and struck in 5.0 ounces of .999 fine silver. The popular American Eagle silver is one of the largest coins, but is just 1.598 inches wide and contains only an ounce of silver.
When the new series ends, the quarter reverse will depict George Washington crossing the Delaware River prior to the Battle of Trenton.
A resource for the quarter series may be found at National Park Quarters. Also, David L. Ganz for Numismatic News wrote an interesting article prior to the bill becoming law that is entitled Park Themes Get Nod for New Coin Series. Additionally, Susan Headley for About.com: Coins has a must read piece over at New State Quarters Program Awaits Signature. For more information on this series, also see America the Beautiful Quarters.
Visit Coin Legislation, Acts and Laws for a listing of other recently introduced or passed coin bills.