New Mexico is home to ancient structures that date back to the time between 850 and 1250 A.D., and in April, the new Chaco Culture quarter from the United States Mint debuted which features portions of the unique architecture on its reverse. The coin is now spotlighted in the latest product from the U.S. Mint, the Chaco Culture Quarter Three-Coin Set. It went on sale Tuesday, April 17, 2012, for $9.95.
Along with previous three-coin set launches featuring America the Beautiful Quarters, this newest numismatic product makes the twelfth released. The three collector coins that are packaged within the set include:
- a proof 25c piece from the United States Mint at San Francisco
- an uncirculated 25c piece from the United States Mint at Denver, and
- an uncirculated 25c piece from the United States Mint at Philadelphia
Donna Weaver designed and Phebe Hemphill sculpted the image on the quarters’ reverse which depicts some of the architectural and engineering feats of the Chacoan culture that are still seen today.
Two elevated kivas, or ceremonial structures of the Chacoan culture, appear in the center of the coins’ image with the north wall of the Chetro Ketl Complex and the north wall of the canyon. Reverse inscriptions include CHACO CULTURE, NEW MEXICO, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The U.S. Mint describes the design and Chaco Culture National Historical Park on the packaging holding the coins and provides a Certificate of Authenticity for collectors on the back. Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico was first established as a national site in the United States on March 11, 1907 and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 8, 1987.
Business quality Chaco Culture quarters were released into circulation for the American public by the Federal Reserve Bank system on April 2, 2012. That is the same day that the United States Mint began offering them in bags and rolls. These circulation coins are struck with less force, which results in softer detail, and they also lack the special proof and uncirculated finished found on quarters within the three-coin set.
As for the official quarter launch ceremony, it will be hosted by the Chaco Culture National Historical Park and the U.S. Mint on Thursday, April 26. The park is located in a remote area in northwest New Mexico about two hours by car south of Farmington, NM. More details of the ceremony will be released as the date approaches.
Mintages, Latest U.S. Mint Sales Figures and Order Details
So far, United States Mint Mint production figures indicate Chaco Culture quarters minted for circulation are at 44 million — a number, if final, would make them the scarcest in the America the Beautiful Quarters® series. Nevertheless, it is still early and more could come. As it stands, production from the two U.S. Mint facilities in Philadelphia and Denver are evenly split at 22 million. To put the new quarter’s current mintages in perspective, the first strike of this year, the El Yunque National Forest Quarter, used to hold the title of most scarce with a mintage of 50.8 million, while the Chickasaw quarter has the most in the America the Beautiful Quarters series with 143.2 million.
As of this writing, interested buyers are still able to order the 2010- and 2011-dated sets for $14.95 and the 2012 sets for $9.95. Purchasing any of the America the Beautiful Three-Coin Sets™ can be accomplished by using this U.S. Mint product page, or by calling their customer service department at the toll free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). A $4.95 shipping and handling charge applies to all domestic orders.
Sales of three-coin sets usually jump when a new one arrives on the market. According to sales figures last released by the United States Mint for Monday, April 16, the Yellowstone Quarters Three-Coin Set still has the highest sales at 20,770 followed by the Hot Springs Quarters Three-Coin Set with 20,339. Sales of the remaining sets ranged between 13,119 and 18,433.
More sets to launch this year will honor Acadia National Park in Maine, Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii and Denali National Park in Alaska. They are all part of the 56 national sites represented between 2010 and 2021, one in each U.S. state, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
Fans of New Mexico’s park will also be given the opportunity in the future to buy a five-ounce, .999 fine silver coin in both collector and investor versions featuring the same designs as those on the quarter. First, the Chaco Culture National Historical Park Silver Bullion Coin will be sold to the Mint’s exclusive network of Authorized Purchasers, who use several avenues of distribution to put the coins on the market. The second issue, the collector version, is the Chaco Culture National Historical Park Silver Uncirculated Coin. It will be sold directly by the Mint to the public.