Marking the first coin ever to be released under the new America the Beautiful Quarters Program, the United States Mint ceremoniously launched the 2010 Hot Springs National Park Quarters yesterday to a crowd estimated at well over a thousand.
2010 Hot Springs National Park Quarter – Obverse and Reverse
The ceremony was held on the grounds of the Hot Springs National Park headquarters building, which is showcased on the reverse (tails side) of the new strike along with the thermal spring fountain located in front of the structure.
US Mint Director Ed Moy was joined in the official release by National Park Service Midwest Regional Director Ernie Quintana and Hot Springs National Park Superintendent Josie Fernandez.
"This has always been a special place, its been a magical place, its been a place of hope and peace and beauty," Director Moy proclaimed about the Hot Springs Park at the official release. "That’s what we wanted to capture in the design of the first coin issued under the America the Beautiful Quarters Program from the United States Mint.
The Hot Springs quarter serves as the debut for the fifty-six coin America the Beautiful Quarters Program that will see five new strikes a year until at least 2021.
The obverse (heads side) of all of these coins will continue to bear a portrait of the first President of the United States, George Washington. The reverses feature a theme of the beauty of the American outdoors and showcases one site of national interest from each state, the District of Columbia and the five territories of the United States. All of the sites have already been chosen and include national parks, national monuments and national forests. (See the America the Beautiful Quarters Site List.)
Collectors were already able to order the new strikes as of Monday, April 19, 2010 directly from the Mint in either 100-coin bags for $35.95 or two-roll sets for $32.95. Those opting for the bags have their choice of coins struck at either the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia or the Mint’s facility in Denver. The two-roll sets contain one roll of 40 coins from both of those locations for a total of 80 strikes. The 19th is also the day the coins began to enter circulation through the nation’s banking system.
There has been a significant amount of interest in the new quarter program ever since they were first authorized by Congress and signed into law in late 2008. Seen as almost a continuation of the Mint’s highly successful 50-State Quarter Program and its follow-up, the 2009 D.C. & U.S. Territories Quarters, these new strikes are debuting a bit later in their first year than most expected. This is due to the short lead-time the Mint was given between the act becoming law and this first coin’s debut (along with the creation of the program itself).
Typically, the Mint has at least 18 months to complete the preparation for a single new coin before its issue – a luxury it did not receive for this program which will include dozens and dozens of new strikes before it ends.
Fortunately, however, the late official quarter launch actually allowed the Mint to have the ceremony on a significant date in the Hot Springs National Park’s history — its 178th anniversary of having been established as a Federally protected national site.
"The idea to preserve and conserve natural resources for future generations was born here," explains Hot Springs National Park Superintendent Josie Fernandez. "The people of the territory of Arkansas petitioned the federal government to protect the Hot Springs of the Ouachita and that’s what brings us to today. It’s the first land ever set aside for protection in perpetuity for the American People."
Those attending the ceremony were given the opportunity to exchange cash for rolls of the new strikes while lucky children were given a shiny new Hot Springs Quarter for free.
Collectors will now have to wait until June 1 for the next coin due under the program, the Yellowstone National Park Quarter. It will be followed in July by a coin honoring Yosemite National Park, in September by one showcasing Grand Canyon National Park and in November with a coin for Mount Hood National Forest. (For more, see the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Release Dates.)