On Tuesday, Feb. 7, United States Mint quarters celebrating Iowa’s Effigy Mounds National Monument were formerly introduced to the public.
Around 1,700 people went to the launch ceremony hosted by officials from the U.S. Mint and National Park Service.
"The Effigy Mounds quarter design embodies the spirit of this sacred landscape," said Marc Landry, Superintendent of the United States Mint at Philadelphia. "This new coin honors a special place where ancient people changed the landscape of their world in the most extraordinary way."
Attendees included more than 1,250 schoolchildren who received an Effigy Mounds quarter for free.
The event featured members of local Native American tribes and a Junior Ranger high school student that earned her first badge from Effigy Mounds and has visited over 260 national parks.
The video message from native Iowan astronaut Peggy Whitson from the International Space Station was a hit; the crowd was entertained by 4th grade students singing the Nifty Fifty States song; representatives from the national Iowa Congressional delegation delivered remarks; and fourth-generation Iowan Richard Masters, who designed the new quarter, received special recognition. Masters, an artist in the U.S. Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program, has designed coins and medals for the United States Mint for more than 10 years.
Kerndt Brothers Saving Bank in Waukon sponsored a coin exchange that followed the ceremony. The local bank exchanged about $23,000 in D-mint mark quarters.
Another highlight for 75 collectors and local enthusiasts was a coin forum held on the evening before the ceremony.
Effigy Mounds quarters started entering circulation on Monday, Feb. 6. On the same day, the U.S. Mint released Fort Moultrie quarters in rolls and bags. Available options include coins struck at the San Francisco, Denver and Philadelphia Mints at prices that range from $18.95 to $46.95.
The U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program was introduced in 2010 and will commemorate 56 national parks and other sites through 2021. The Effigy Mounds quarter is the 36th released and the first of the five for 2017.