On Wednesday, Aug. 30, quarters honoring Ellis Island in New Jersey were formerly introduced to the public.
Officials from the United States Mint and National Park Service hosted the quarter’s release ceremony on the island where more than 12 million immigrants were processed from 1892 to 1954.
"This new coin not only honors the unique history of the largest and most active immigration station in the United States, but also the spirit and determination of the millions of people seeking a better life in America," said Todd Baldau, senior advisor to the Acting Deputy Director of the Mint.
Around 350 people attended the event, including approximately 30 children who received an Ellis Island quarter for free, with hundreds more visitors to the island passing through and learning about the new coin.
The quarter’s reverse design depicts an immigrant family approaching Ellis Island with a mixture of hope and uncertainty. The hospital building on the New Jersey portion of Ellis Island is visible in the background.
In addition to U.S. Mint officials, participants in the celebration included Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Deputy Superintendent John Hnedak, who read a letter from New Jersey governor Chris Christie; Projects Director Zach McCue, who represented U.S. Senator Cory Booker; Communications Director Erica Daughtrey, who represented U.S. Congressman Albio Sires; and Janis Calella, president of Save Ellis Island, Inc.
The National Park Police Honor Guard presented the colors during the ceremony. Local high school student Catie O’Neill sang the National Anthem. The quarter’s designer, Barbara Fox, was also on hand and recognized. She signed rolls of quarters.
Bank of America sponsored a coin exchange that followed the ceremony. The bank exchanged about $18,500 in Philadelphia Mint-struck quarters.
Another highlight for 25 collectors and local enthusiasts was a coin forum held shortly after the event where attendees listened to and asked questions of U.S. Mint officials.
Ellis Island quarters started entering circulation on Monday, Aug. 28. On the same day, the U.S. Mint released Ellis Island quarters in rolls and bags. Available options include coins produced at the San Francisco, Denver and Philadelphia Mints at prices that range from $18.95 to $46.95. (See more photos of the quarter.)
The U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program was introduced in 2010 and will celebrate 56 national parks and other sites through 2021. The Ellis Island quarter is the 39th released and the fourth of five unique quarter designs for 2017.