The United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program began in 2010 and honors the fifty-six national parks and other national sites in each state, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa was honored as the first coin produced in 2017. This coin portrays a rich history of the area that is preserved in this national park.
The History of Effigy Mounds National Monument
Established in 1949, Effigy Mounds National Monument preserves many examples of Native American ceremonial mounds. These provide visitors with the opportunity to see and understand the Woodland period of Native American mound-building culture.
The national monument covers 2,526 acres and includes more than 200 mounds. A majority of them are in the form of a bear or bird effigy. These were built by the Woodland tribes and date between 500 BC and 1200 A.D. Other shapes include mammals, birds, and reptiles.
It is a mystery as to why these mounds were constructed. Archaeologists and researchers hypothesize that the mounds may have been built for religious ceremonies, burial ceremonies, or a way to connect the living to their ancient ancestors currently in the spiritual world.
There are four different types of burial mounds in the park. A conical mound is round and dome-shaped and is usually about ten to twenty feet across and between two and eight feet high. The linear mound was between two and four feet high, six to eight feet across, and up to 100 feet long. Compound mounds were a combination of the canonical and linear style mounds and resembled a string of beads. An effigy ("effigy" meaning in the shape of) mounds resemble various mammal, bird, and reptile shapes.
Visitors can explore the origins of the mounds and again an understanding of the Woodland period of Native American history. The mounds are burial sites and they are considered sacred sites by many Americans, especially the twelve different Native American tribes affiliated with the site.
Design Candidates and Final Selection
The designs for the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program® are chosen from a selection of prototypes provided by United States Mint artists and artists available through the Artistic Infusion Program. The designs are further developed through a consulting process involving the governor or other chief executive officer of the state or territory where the featured National Park is located. Also, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Commission of the Fine Arts (CFA), and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) make recommendations. The Secretary of the Treasury has the final approval for all the design candidates.
Initially, neither the CFA nor the CCAC approved any of the thirteen design candidates submitted for their review. They asked the mint to submit additional designs for their consideration. However, they did suggest exploration of a different framing of an aerial view such as those portrayed in submissions IA-04, IA-04A, and IA-04B. As you can see, the final design is very similar to design candidate IA-04B which was eventually approved by The Secretary of the Treasury.
Every quarter produced for the America the Beautiful Quarter Program® has an official launch ceremony. The Iowa Effigy Mounds quarter launch ceremony was conducted by the U.S. Mint and the National Park Service at Allamakee Community School District High School Gym (1059 3rd Avenue N.W., Waukon, IA 52172) on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. CST. There were approximately 1,700 people in attendance. Of that, 1,250 were children from local schools. Each child was given a 2017-D Effigy Mounds America the Beautiful quarter. Additional quarters could be purchased at face value from representatives from the local bank in attendance at the ceremony.
5 Ounce Pure Silver Quarter
The United States Mint also makes available for sale silver bullion quarter-dollar coins that are duplicates of the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters®. The bullion coins are made of .999 fine silver and have a diameter of three inches and weigh five troy ounces. They are produced in two finishes, a vapor blast finish specially made for coin collectors and an uncirculated finish for bulk bullion sales.
Specifications and Mintages
All quarters produced for circulation in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarter Program have the following specifications:
- Weight = 5.670 g
- Diameter = 0.955 in (24.26 mm)
- Thickness = 1.75 mm
- Edge = Reeded
- Composition = Cupro-Nickel Clad (8.33% Nickel, Balance Copper)
2017 Effigy Mounds Quarter Value and Prices
|Date and Mint||Type||Mintage||Value|
|2017||5 oz. Silver Bullion||35,000||$150.00|
|2017-P||5 oz. Silver Vapor Blast||17,251||$170.00|