The United States Mint at noon today started selling its latest product for coin collectors which features 2016 quarters in 90% silver and 10% copper. Labeled the America the Beautiful Quarters 2016 Silver Proof Set, this collection contains silver coins honoring the national sites in Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota and South Carolina.
Notably, this year’s set is probably the last to hold coins composed of 90% silver, but more on that later. Found within it are proofs honoring:
- Shawnee National Forest in Illinois
- Cumberland Gap National Historic Park in Kentucky:
- Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota
- Fort Moultrie at Fort Sumter National Monument in South Carolina
The 2016 issue appears as the seventh annual release in the America the Beautiful Quarter series which debuted in 2010 and features coins depicting reverse (tails side) designs emblematic of national sites of interest. For this set, each coin was produced at the U.S. Mint’s facility in San Francisco and bears an ‘S’ mint mark.
Seen on the obverse (heads side) of each program coin is a portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. This portrait has appeared on quarter dollars in variations since 1932 and was created by artist John Flanagan.
Robotic systems at the San Francisco Mint encase the proof silver quarters in a single protective lens. The Mint’s newest robotics line is 3X faster than older ones, able to fill 1,800 lenses in an hour. We’ll talk more about the multi-stage robotics line an upcoming article. For now, here are three photos that show some of its working:
Last Year for 90% Silver Quarters?
As mentioned, this is likely the last year for quarters in 90% silver. Late last year, the U.S. Mint was granted the authority to strike numismatic coins in higher silver purity, like .999 fine. The authorization came as part of the FAST Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 4, 2015. It struck the traditional 90/10 language and replaced it with "not less than 90 percent silver."
Priced at $31.95, this collectible is available from the U.S. Mint’s online page of silver coins or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
No mintage, ordering or household limits apply to this release. Last year’s set remains available and has reported sales of 97,119. The set from 2014 ended at 119,251.
Darrin Lee Unser –
Thanks for the update with your always great photos, especially of their new robotics system! Just one suggestion-since the U.S. Mint is very particular/protective of their registered trademarks, you might want to use the TM symbol for this product at least once in your article.
This highly efficient robotics system was completed 7 months ago at a cost of only $2 million & allowed the San Francisco Mint to replace one full-time employee on this production line. The branch Mint used to have about 600 employees when it started introducing machine automation about 15 years ago & now only has about 200 employees. The wave of the future, which will cut costs & therefore reduce prices of Mint products – NOT!
Great website, always my first source for coin news. Always helpful information!
It makes no sense for the mint to stop using 90 percent silver in numismatic coinage. Wasn’t the idea to produce coins with the traditional pre-1964 mixture as a deliberate nod to past coinage? Nostalgia is part of the appeal of collecting anything, and collecting coins in particular. That’s why Coke still occasionally sells its product in the traditional curving glass bottles.
Reed Scercy –
Welcome to a great coin blog website for both beginners & experienced collectors alike! If you are new to the tripartite numismatic hobby/industry/science you may also want to check out the largest numismatic publication in the world – Coin World (TM) weekly newspaper/monthly magazine/daily online website publication at coinworld.com by Amos Media company in Sidney, Ohio.
Happy collecting Reed!
Chris – You are exactly right about the U.S. Mint resuming (after the last set in 1964) silver Proof sets in 1992 with 90% fine silver coins (known in the USA as “coinage silver.”) But, most world Mints now use .999 fine silver or .9999 fine silver for almost all collector silver coins & silver sets. That makes the 90% silver blank planchets a pain to find & more expensive to purchase from the very few vendors that produce them. The Mint wants to save money on the cost per planchet over spot silver price & switching composition will achieve… Read more »
I started collecting last year and have enjoyed building the complete set of silver proof ATB quarters. I also have an interest in the annual silver proof sets but I’m not a fan of the Presidential dollars. I just don’t like them or want them. Is that mistaken thinking? Would I be smarter to collect the full set and get my ATB quarters that way? I sure would like to collect the silver proof ATB quarters and half dollar, dime, nickel, penny. Is there a way to do that without the Presidential dollars?
I received 2 sets, 2016 silver proof set.
There is a stain on the bottom back side of the Roosevelt quarter. How can this happen if robotics are used. The stain is the color of rust and is patchy.
I am assuming this is not a flaw worth saving, can you confirm?