This year the United States Mint facility in San Francisco will produce circulating quality 2012-S America the Beautiful Quarters® which will be sold only within collector products.
These quarters with the "S" mint mark will not enter normal commerce via banks and other financial institutions like most other American coinage produced for circulation. Instead, the new coins will be offered by the U.S. Mint directly to the public as numismatic products, with premiums above their face value, which is similar to the 2012-dated Presidential $1 coins, Native American $1 coins, and Kennedy half-dollars.
"We were looking for a new numismatic product with an "S" mark. Feedback we had received from customers was that there was always great anticipation with products that had the "S" mint mark," explained Michael White, a U.S. Mint spokesman.
The United States Mint anticipates the new strikes could be popular with collectors while also improving the program’s visibility.
"We felt that an "S" mint mark on America the Beautiful quarters would bring some additional visibility to the program," added White. "A business case was developed that supported moving forward with the product."
For years, coins for circulation have been struck at the U.S. Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia with the respective "D" or "P" mint marks, while the San Francisco facility strikes proof quality coins for numismatic sets, such as the core Proof Set, the core Silver Proof Set, and the America the Beautiful Quarters proof sets in clad and in silver. The last time the California facility produced any type of circulation quality coin was in the early 1980’s.
Minimally, bags and rolls of the San Francisco quarters are expected, with other products and perhaps even sets with them possible. The quarters will also have limited mintages.
Considering that the U.S. Mint has been selling a little over one million quarters in bags and rolls from each of the Philadelphia and Denver Mints already, the new products could be exceedingly popular and sell out. Should circulating quality quarters from San Francisco prove popular, it is possible similar issues could continue into next year and beyond.
The U.S. Mint will "evaluate the program in subsequent years and make a determination if the program should continue," White indicated.
This year’s America the Beautiful Quarters include:
- 2012-S El Yunque National Forest Quarters (Puerto Rico)
- 2012-S Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarters (New Mexico)
- 2012-S Acadia National Park Quarters (Maine)
- 2012-S Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Quarters (Hawaii)
- 2012-S Denali National Park Quarters (Alaska)
So far this year, Philadelphia and Denver minted quarters featuring El Yunque National Forest and Chaco Culture National Historical Park have been released into circulation. The other quarters have only been seen within various numismatic proof sets and the just released 2012 U.S. Mint Set.