The United States Mint on April 25, 2011 will begin accepting orders for the first two 2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins from its established network of Authorized Purchasers (APs).
Each coin will have a mintage of at least 126,500, which is 3.83 times the amount of the 2010-dated issues with their limited 33,000 per coin mintage.
"The United States Mint will allocate an initial quantity of 126,500 coins for each of the first two issues. Our goal to have a minimum of at least 126,500 coins for each of the subsequent 2011 designs," the Mint said in a memo to its APs. "The United States Mint may increase the mintage limit beyond the initial release quantities based on market demand and blank availability."
The two silver bullion coins honor Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania and Glacier National Park in Montana. Their designs match their corresponding America the Beautiful Quarters® that were released into circulation earlier this year. However, unlike the quarters, each bullion coin contains five ounces of .999 fine silver and has a diameter of three inches. Also, instead of a reeded edge, the silver coins have edge-incused letters of .999 FINE SILVER 5.0 OUNCE.
Bullion Coin Distribution
Only Authorized Purchasers are allowed to buy the bullion coins directly from the US Mint since the bureau does not sell any bullion products directly to the public. The APs, who have met certain Mint requirements, pay a premium of $9.75 per coin over the cost of silver it contains. APs who participate in the 2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins Program must make a minimum purchase of 10,000 ounces which is 2,000 coins. The APs resell their inventory to other businesses, coin dealers, and if they are set up for it, directly to the public. This is the same method the Mint practices in releasing other bullion productions, like the popular American Silver Eagle bullion coin.
Coins that are intended for collectors, such as those deemed “uncirculated” or "proof," feature a unique finish, bear a mint mark, and are sold directly from the Mint to the public at higher premiums.
Gettysburg and Glacier Coin Designs
The 2011 Gettysburg Silver Bullion Coin is the first bullion coin of 2011 and the sixth in the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins Program. Gettysburg National Military Park marks the battlefield of one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War and was the location of President Abraham Lincoln’s historic “Gettysburg Address.”
On the reverse or tails side of the coin is a depiction of the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument that is located on the battle line of the Union Army at Cemetery Ridge. It was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. Inscriptions include GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, 2011 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The 2011 Glacier Silver Bullion Coin is the seventh issue in the series. Glacier National Park is well known for its rugged mountains, dense forests, and glacial-carved valleys. Only a small percentage of the original glaciers remain, and it is estimated that by 2020, there will be no more glaciers in the park due to global climate change.
On the reverse or tails side of the coin is a depiction of a classic view of the northeast slope of Mount Reynolds towering in the distance, while a mountain goat clamors over the rocky slopes of the park’s high country. It was designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Charles L. Vickers. Inscriptions include GLACIER, MONTANA, 2011 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
All America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins feature reverse designs that are emblematic of selected sites of national interest from each state, US territory, and the District of Colombia. 56 sites in all were chosen, and five of them per year will debut on a coin.
The program is scheduled to last from 2010 through to 2021, when the last coin appears. Every coin will have a portrait of President George Washington on its obverse.
Other silver bullion coins to arise this year will be the 2011 Olympic National Park Silver Bullion Coin, the 2011 Vicksburg National Military Park Silver Bullion Coin and the 2011 Chickasaw National Recreational Area Silver Bullion coin. These coins honor respective sites located in the states of Washington, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
The US Mint also intends to strike collector versions as well, but in much more limited quantities. The first of the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins will be the Hot Springs National Park Silver Uncirculated Coin. It is scheduled to appear later in the week on Thursday, April 28. Only 27,000 have been struck.