America the Beautiful Quarters: A Tribute to US Nature

America the Beautiful quarters were a series of national park and historical site 25-cent coins released as part of a 12-year US program from 2010 to 2021.

The quarters commemorated many of America’s majestic national parks on collectible circulating coins beloved by history-buff and nature-enthusiast coin collectors.

The US National Park System has 425 national properties, encompassing both natural and historic sites. Many of these sites are sources of pride and economic growth for their local and state-wide communities.

To honor the multi-leveled importance of these national parks, the US Mint released 56 national park quarters from 2010 to 2021, one for each US state, territory, and federal district.

We here at Coins Auctioned have been in the US coin market for decades. Today, we’re sharing our industry knowledge on the America the Beautiful national site quarters program, including the inception and design selection process.

First, we’ll start with a complete list of these national site quarters, their designs, and value.

america the beautiful quartersPictured above: 2010 Mount Hood quarter featuring Lost Lake | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

Chronology of ATB Quarters

Below is a complete list of America the Beautiful quarters in order of their release from 2010 to 2021:

2010 Quarters

The first year’s coins commemorated sites established from 1832 to 1893. It also features the “Big Three” national parks: Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon.

  1. Hot Springs National Park — Arkansas

  2. Yellowstone National Park — Wyoming

  3. Yosemite National Park — California

  4. Grand Canyon National Park — Arizona

  5. Mt. Hood National Forest — Oregon

2011 mississippi vicksburg military park quarterPictured above: 2011 Vicksburg National Military Park quarter featuring USS Cairo on Yazoo River| Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2011 Quarters

The second year’s coins featured sites established from 1895 to 1902:

  1. Gettysburg National Military Park — Pennsylvania

  2. Glacier National Park — Montana

  3. Olympic National Park — Washington

  4. Vicksburg National Military Park — Mississippi

  5. Chickasaw National Recreation Area — Oklahoma

2012 hawaii volcanoes national park america the beautiful quarterPictured above: 2012 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park quarter featuring Kīlauea volcanoe | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2012 Quarters

The 2012 quarter designs had sites established from 1903 to 1917. This set has the first territory featured (Puerto Rico) and the first parks established after the National Park Service (NPS) agency began in 1916:

  1. El Yunque National Forest — Puerto Rico

  2. Chaco Culture National Historical Park — New Mexico

  3. Acadia National Park — Maine

  4. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park — Hawaii

  5. Denali National Park and Preserve — Alaska

2013 mount rushmore quarter - america the beautifulPictured above:  2013 Mount Rushmore National Memorial quarter featuring workers carving the faces| Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2013 Quarters

This year’s quarters had sites established from 1918 to 1925, plus the first national memorials and monument featured:

  1. White Mountain National Forest — New Hampshire

  2. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial — Ohio

  3. Great Basin National Park — Nevada

  4. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine — Maryland

  5. Mount Rushmore National Memorial — South Dakota

2014 everglades america the beautiful quarterPictured above: 2014 Everglades National Park quarter featuring an anhinga, willow, and roseate spoonbill| Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2014 Quarters

The 2014 national park quarters featured sites established from 1926 to 1934, including the most visited national park in America, the Great Smoky Mountains:

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park — Tennessee

  2. Shenandoah National Park — Virginia

  3. Arches National Park — Utah

  4. Great Sand Dunes National Park — Colorado

  5. Everglades National Park — Florida

2015 saratoga national historical park quarterPictured above: 2015 Saratoga National Historical Park quarter | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2015 Quarters

In 2015, the ATB quarters had sites established from 1936 to 1938. This set has the first wildlife refuge featured plus the first and only featured national parkway:

  1. Homestead National Monument of America — Nebraska

  2. Kisatchie National Forest — Louisiana

  3. Blue Ridge Parkway — North Carolina

  4. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge — Delaware

  5. Saratoga National Historical Park — New York

2016 theodore roosevelt national park quarter - america the beautifulPictured above: 2016 Theodore Roosevelt National Park quarter featuring Roosevelt riding near Little Missouri River | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2016 Quarters

The 2016 quarter set has sites established from 1939 to 1948:

  1. Shawnee National Forest — Illinois

  2. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park — Kentucky

  3. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park — West Virginia

  4. Theodore Roosevelt National Park — North Dakota

  5. Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) — South Carolina

2017 Effigy Mounds National Monument quarter - America the BeautifulPictured above: 2017 Effigy Mounds National Monument quarter | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2017 Quarters

The 2017 quarters depict sites established from 1949 to 1966. They include the first and only national scenic riverway featured:

  1. Effigy Mounds National Monument — Iowa

  2. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site — District of Columbia

  3. Ozark National Scenic Riverways — Missouri

  4. Ellis Island — New Jersey

  5. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park — Indiana

2018 Apostle Islands National Lakeshore QuarterPictured above: 2018 Apostle Islands National Lakeshore quarter | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2018 Quarters

The sites in the 2018 quarters were established from 1966 to 1973, and most are in the category of national shorelines or bodies of water:

  1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore — Michigan

  2. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore — Wisconsin

  3. Voyageurs National Park — Minnesota

  4. Cumberland Island National Seashore — Georgia

  5. Block Island National Wildlife Refuge — Rhode Island

2019 American Memorial Park Quarter - america the beautifulPictured above: 2019 American Memorial Park quarter | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2019 Quarters

The quarters in 2019 had sites established from 1978 to 1980 and the first and only wilderness area featured:

  1. Lowell National Historical Park — Massachusetts

  2. American Memorial Park — Northern Mariana Islands

  3. War in the Pacific National Historical Park — Guam

  4. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park — Texas

  5. Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness — Idaho

2020 Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve QuarterPictured above: 2020 Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve quarter | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2020 Quarters

The 2020 quarters depicted sites established from 1988 to 1996 and the first and only national preserve featured:

  1. National Park of American Samoa — American Samoa

  2. Weir Farm National Historic Site — Connecticut

  3. Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve — U.S. Virgin Islands

  4. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park — Vermont

  5. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve — Kansas

2021 Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site QuarterPictured above: 2021 Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site quarter featuring Tuskegee Airman, P-51 Mustangs, and Moton Field control tower| Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

2021 Quarter

The last America the Beautiful quarter commemorated the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama, established in 1998.

The Design Concept

Congress passed the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, authorizing the US Mint to issue quarters with a reverse (tails side) design depicting a specific national site.

The US Mint released 5 new quarters per year from 2010 to 2020, with the last quarter released in 2021.

Each commemorative quarter has the same obverse design of George Washington as depicted in the 1932 John Flanagan Washington quarter design. The reverse depicts the specific national site.

How did they decide which national sites to feature? And in what order?

The national park quarters went in order of which site was established first.

Who designed the America the Beautiful quarters?

For states with multiple national sites, the Secretary of the Interior, US Mint, and Secretary of the Treasury collaborated with the chief executive of each location (i.e. state, territory, district) to decide the most nationally and historically significant site.

Once all sites were chosen, State officials, State artists, US Mint engravers, and everyday citizens could submit design ideas.

The Secretary of the Treasury oversaw the entire design selection process.

Some ATB quarters were designed by a single artist, others were collaborations.

Many of the artists were part of the Artistic Infusion Program (AIP), a US Mint program for artists nationwide to design for US coins.

2010 yellowstone national park quarter - america the beautiful seriesPictured above: 2010 Yellowstone National Park quarter| Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

Commemorating National Parks, Forests & Historic Sites

For those who love the classics, you’ll adore these national park quarter designs depicting the most visited parks in America:

  • 2014 Great Smoky Mountains National Park Quarter: Historic log cabin nestled in forest with hawk above

  • 2010 Grand Canyon National Park Quarter: Nankoweap granaries (11th-century AD Puebloan grain storage) in Marble Canyon near Colorado River

  • 2012 Acadia National Park Quarter: Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse along coastline with pine trees and ocean

  • 2010 Yosemite National Park Quarter: Iconic El Capitan summit, the biggest granite monolith on Earth

  • 2010 Yellowstone National Park Quarter: Bull Bison in front of Old Faithful geyser erupting

2020 National Park of American Samoa quarterPictured above: 2020 National Park of American Samoa quarter | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

Prefer an underdog story? Check out the designs on some of the least visited national park quarters:

  • 2020 National Park of American Samoa Quarter: Samoan fruit bat mother and pup, an endangered species only found on Samoan Islands and Fiji

  • 2013 Great Basin National Park: One of the park’s Bristlecone Pine trees (dated over 4,000 years old) in rocky glacial moraines

  • 2018 Voyageurs National Park: Common loon floating in front of rock cliff

2011 Gettysburg National Military Park QuarterPictured above: 2011 Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

Veterans will appreciate the designs on military-focused America the Beautiful quarters:

  • 2013 Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine Quarter: Fort during “Defenders Day” celebration with fireworks and US flag waving

  • 2013 Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial Quarter: Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry statue and Peace Memorial

  • 2019 American Memorial Park Quarter: Traditionally dressed woman looking at Flag Circle and Court of Honor while touching memorial plaque for casualties of Marianas Campaign during WWII

  • 2011 Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter: Union gunboat U.S.S. Cairo on Yazoo River serving US Navy during Civil War

  • 2011 Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter: 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument with Civil War cannon

  • 2016 Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) Quarter: Sergeant William Jasper returning shot-down South Carolina regimental flag to American ramparts during Revolutionary War

The ATB quarters also come in more valuable versions for collectors.

america the beautiful proof quarters set 2019Pictured above: 2019 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

The Collecting Craze

Most national park quarters were minted for circulation, but the US Mint released some special national park quarter sets annually:

  • America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set™: The years ATB quarter(s) with normal metal composition but frosted proof finishes and reeded edges

  • America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set™: The year’s ATB quarter(s), 1 Roosevelt dime, and 1 Kennedy half-dollar all minted in 0.999 silver with reeded edges; Also includes 1 Native American $1 coin, 1 penny, and 1 nickel, all minted that year and uncirculated

  • Limited Edition Silver Proof Set: The year’s ATB quarter(s), 1 dime, 1 Kennedy half-dollar, and 1 American Eagle 1-oz silver proof coin, all minted in 0.999 silver with reeded edges

  • 100-coin America the Beautiful Quarters bags: Bag of 100 of that year’s ATB quarter (you pick which one) with regular composition but reeded edge

  • America the Beautiful Quarters roll sets: Two-roll, three-roll, or single 40-coin roll of that year’s ATB quarter (you pick which one)

Every national park quarter has an investment-grade, uncirculated silver bullion version.

Circulated quarters are a copper-nickel mixture, but these valuable silver bullion versions are 5 ounces of extremely fine (0.999 or 99.9% pure) silver. They’re also the first ever 5-ounce, 3-inch, 0.999-fineness silver bullion coins the US Mint has ever made.

Authenticated, uncirculated national park quarters in pristine condition with protective packaging and a high grade (from PCGS or NGC, usually) can be considerably valuable.

Some national park quarters fitting those criteria have sold for $660 to $1,140!

valuable america the beautiful quarter - 2017 frederick douglass historical sitePictured above: 2017 Frederick Douglass National Historic Site quarter reverse proof | Image credit: U.S. Mint, Public domain

Valuable America the Beautiful Quarters

Some of the more valuable America the Beautiful quarters include:

  • 2017 Frederick Douglass Silver Bullion: Underestimated demand for this coin led only 20,000 to be sold, retail value has doubled

  • 2017 Ozark National Park Silver Bullion: Low mintage of 20,000

  • 2012 Hawai’i Volcanoes Silver Bullion: Low mintage of 20,000 and current retail value of almost 4-times its spot value

  • 2014 Utah Arches Silver Bullion: Somewhat low mintage of 22,000 and intricately detailed design

  • 2012 Alaska Denali Silver Bullion: Low mintage of 20,000 and glossy, intricately detailed design

  • 2010 Satin Finish ATB Quarters: Only minted in 2010 sets with low mintage of 585,897

However, national park quarter value goes beyond just monetary worth.

Educational Value

Not everyone has the opportunity to visit or even learn about the beautiful national parks and historic sites America has to offer.

The America the Beautiful national park quarters can bring awareness to many citizens, potentially inspiring them to research or even visit a national site.

One study showed that historically marginalized groups are significantly less likely to visit national parks.

Other studies confirmed this, leading the National Park Service to start initiatives to give minority groups greater accessibility, safety, and acceptance in national parks.

Why does national park visitation and education matter?

For one, the tourism revenue of these sites keeps local economies running. But learning and visiting natural and historical sites also help the next generation broaden their perspective and work to maintain the preservation of the nation’s resources, helping these natural and cultural preservations remain funded and protected.

Girl scout holding Gettysburg quarter from America the Beautiful seriesPictured above: A local Girl Scout is the proud owner of a brand new Gettysburg National Military Park quarter - the sixth coin in U.S. Mint's America the Beautiful Quarters Program | Image credit: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Public domain

Challenges and Controversies

The America the Beautiful program has had a couple minor controversies.

The main controversies surrounding the program are 1) whether the silver bullion versions are fairly priced, 2) whether the designs are interesting enough, and 3) why the obverse design was chosen.

  1. Are the silver bullions fairly priced?

In 2010, one of the US Mint’s official distributors (“Authorized Purchasers”), APMEX, added a $130 premium to their silver bullion ATB quarter sets, even though they purchased them from the mint for only $9.75 over the silver spot price.

After halting the quarters’ release, the US Mint eventually released a public statement and new terms & conditions to distributors, limiting the distributors on adding premiums no more than 10 percent higher than the mint’s premium.

  1. Are the designs interesting enough?

Some numismatists gave negative opinions on the coin designs, criticizing them for being repetitive and unspecific, with many designs featuring stones and birds, for example.

  1. Why wasn’t Teddy Roosevelt on the obverse instead of Washington?

Members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) unanimously voted to put Teddy Roosvelt on the observe of the America the Beautiful quarters, given Roosevelt’s contributions to the national park program and American coinage.

However, Congress reportedly didn’t support the idea, so the CCAC backed down.

The choice for the originally commemorative 1932 design of Washington was not only controversial for not being Roosevelt, but also because the design was originally chosen in 1932 over the arguably better design by Laura Gardin Fraser for likely sexist reasons.

Overall, some numismatists think the national park quarters didn’t shake things up enough, but not everyone agrees.

Many collectors have enjoyed the beautiful designs, historical value, and educational awareness that America the Beautiful national park quarters offered.

Which America the Beautiful Coin is Your Favorite?

Whether you’re an outdoor lover, history buff, or just a completionist American coin collector, we’re happy to help you add your next America the Beautiful national park quarter to your collection. You can opt for uncirculated proof versions for an investment, find your favorite park quarter, or gift some to a natural park-enthusiast loved ones!

Buy American national park coins from us today!

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