Kicking off the month of February for the United States Mint were bags and rolls of the first 2012-dated quarters which depict El Yunque National Forest. The second U.S. Mint product issued this month features those same quarters but in collector editions. On Tuesday, February 7, 2012, the United States Mint released the El Yunque Quarter Three-Coin Set.
The set is the eleventh released in the series of America the Beautiful Quarters®, but it has the lowest price. At $9.95, it is $5 cheaper than the others.
The included collector quality quarters share a reverse design that honors El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico located in the Caribbean. The three-coin set features:
- a proof 25c piece from the United States Mint at San Francisco
- an uncirculated 25c piece from the United States Mint at Philadelphia, and
- an uncirculated 25c piece from the United States Mint at Denver
The coins are mounted on a durable plastic card with a description on the back of the honored site and its specially designed coin.
Two iconic species of the tropical rainforest are showcased on the coin’s reverse. The design incorporates a Coqui tree frog as it sits on a leaf while a Puerto Rican parrot is perched on an epiphyte plant and tropical flora show in the background. Inscriptions are EL YUNQUE, PUERTO RICO, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed by Gary Whitley and engraved by Michael Gaudioso.
The United States Mint is still offering the previous ten sets at $14.95, and they have been quite popular. Buyers have purchased over 20,000 of the Hot Springs and the Yellowstone Three-Coin Sets and over 15,000 of the Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, the Mount Hood, the Gettysburg, and the Glacier Three-Coin Sets. As for the more recent issues, over 10,000 have been taken of the Olympic, the Vicksburg, and the Chickasaw.
Any three-coin set may be ordered from the United States Mint website at www.usmint.gov/catalog or its toll free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
Remaining 2012-dated sets are due out later this year, but their scheduled launches have not been announced as of this writing. Those will honor Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Acadia National Park in Maine, Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii and Denali National Park in Alaska.
The El Yunque quarter is just one of 56 that will be issued through the year 2021, honoring American national parks and other sites in each U.S. state, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
The El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rainforest in the United States Forest System. It is the second forest to be showcased in the America the Beautiful series, following the Mount Hood National Forest Quarter that launched late in 2010. The El Yunque Forest spans just 28,000 acres, but it packs in beautiful scenery, cascading waterfalls, and ample vegetation. The popular forest welcomes more than one million visitors per year.
At some future point this year, the United States Mint will also release five-ounce, .999 fine silver coins featuring the same designs as those on the quarter. The El Yunque National Forest Silver Bullion Coin will be sold to the Mint’s network of Authorized Purchasers. The collector version, the El Yunque National Forest Silver Uncirculated Coin, will be sold directly from the Mint to the public.
The new El Yunque quarters were released into public circulation on January 23, and the United States Mint began selling them in bags and rolls on February 3.