Yesterday, Sept. 4, 2014, the United States Mint and National Park Service officially introduced the Great Sand Dunes National Park Quarters to a crowd of about 3,000.
Last week the coins launched into circulation and went on sale for collectors in United States Mint roll and bag products.
Thursday’s event took place in the Dunes Parking Lot near Mosca, Colorado where the national park’s scenery appeared prominently in the backdrop.
"With its awe-inspiring combination of desert dunes, high mountain peaks, and flowing Medano Creek, I can see why Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve was chosen to represent the state of Colorado in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program," U.S. Mint Associate Director of Manufacturing Dave Croft said during the launch ceremony.
Croft later presented first-day quarters produced from the Philadelphia Mint and Denver Mint to park superintendent Lisa Carrico
Guest speakers at the ceremony included Erin Minks, Senator Mark Udall’s San Luis Valley representative; Brenda Felmlee, Congressman Scott Tipton’s San Luis Valley representative; Laura Joss, National Park Service Deputy Regional Director, Intermountain Region; Lisa Carrico, Great Sand Dunes National Park Superintendent; and Fred Bunch, Great Sand Dunes National Park Chief of Resource Management.
Around 2,400 children attended the event and were given a free Great Sand Dunes National Park Quarter to remember the occasion.
Following the ceremony, attendees exchanged cash for rolls of the new strike.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park Quarter is the fourth of five America the Beautiful Quarters to be released this year. Featured on the reverse is a design emblematic of the park which depicts a father and son playing in the sand next to the creek bed. The distinctive sand dunes and mountains of the area appear in the distance.
Coins of the U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program debuted in 2010. Five new issues are released annually with each showcasing a different reverse design emblematic of a selected site of national interest from one of the fifty U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories.
Issued previously this year were Great Smoky Mountains National Park Quarters for Tennessee, the Shenandoah National Park Quarters for Virginia and Arches National Park Quarters for Utah. The final 2014 America the Beautiful Quarter will appear later this year with a design depicting Everglades National Park in Florida.
All quarters of the series contain the same obverse portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. The effigy was originally designed by John Flanagan and initially appeared on quarters starting in 1932.
On Tuesday, Sept. 9, the U.S. Mint at www.usmint.gov/catalog will offer a collectible three-coin set of the quarters. Stay tuned to CoinNews.net for information about its release.
All photos above are from the United States Mint. For additional launch ceremony photos, visit the U.S. Mint at: