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In a ceremony in Washington, D.C. yesterday, United States Mint Director Ed Moy, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, and other officials unveiled the designs for the first five coins in the new America the Beautiful quarter series. The America the Beautiful Quarters Program is a multi-year initiative to honor 56 national parks and other national sites in each state, the District of Colombia, and U.S. territories.
The program was authorized by Public Law 110-456 – the “America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008.” The act directs the U.S. Mint to strike and issue 56 circulating quarter-dollars with reverse (tails side) designs emblematic of a national park or other national site in each state, district, or territory. A portrait of George Washington will remain on the obverse of all the quarters.
The Yosemite quarter design features El Capitan, the iconic granite monolith towering over Yosemite Valley. The top of El Capitan looms over 3,000 feet above the Valley floor, with the summit at 7,569 feet above sea level. The quarter design also features the Merced River, which flows through Yosemite Valley. The Yosemite quarter, the third quarter in the series (after Hot Springs and Yellowstone National Parks), will be minted in July 2010.
“We are very excited to be one of the first parks featured in this new minting of quarters. The iconic images of Yosemite National Park are known throughout the world and we are honored that the park is featured on the quarter, which is sure to become a treasured collector’s item,” stated Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher.
This quarter follows the California State Quarter, which was released in 2005. The quarter in this popular series featured Half Dome, John Muir, and the California Condor.