The 2017 Frederick Douglass quarter is part of the United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The program began in 2010 and honored the fifty-six national parks and other national sites in each state, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C., is commemorated on this circulating quarter. This issue is the 37th of 56 total issues and is the second coin produced in 2017. This coin portrays the rich history of this runaway slave, abolitionist, equal rights advocate, and statesman that is preserved in this national park.
The obverse features the traditional portrait of George Washington facing left as sculpted by John Flanagan. This portrait has been used on the quarter since 1932. Around the top crescent of the coin is the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and on the bottom crescent is QUARTER DOLLAR. To the left of Washington’s portrait is the motto LIBERTY and on the right is IN GOD WE TRUST.
The reverse of this circulating commemorative quarter-dollar depicts Frederick Douglass seated at his writing desk in front of Cedar Hill, his home in Washington, D.C. Thomas Hipschen of the Artistic Infusion Program designed the reverse. Phebe Hemphill, Medallic Artist for the United States Mint, sculpted Hipschen's design. The inscriptions that encircle the coin include the name of the territory, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, where the national historic site is located; FREDERICK DOUGLASS; and the mandatory inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The History of Frederick Douglass Historic Site
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in February 1818. His mother lived on a different plantation, and he barely knew her. He never discovered who his father was, and when he was eight years old, his slave owner hired him out to work in Baltimore.
On September 3, 1838, he escaped to New York City and declared himself free. After escaping slavery, he married Anna Murray, who initially helped him escape. They moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and changed their last name to Douglass.
After traveling to various sections of the country and overseas with Frederick working as an orator, the Douglasses moved to Washington, D.C., in 1872. Frederick's notoriety as an orator led to his advancement and the holding of prestigious offices, including being a member of the Legislative Council in the D.C. Territorial Government, a Board Member of Howard University, and President of the Friedman’s Bank. On February 20, 1895, he passed away from a heart attack at his home, Cedar Hill.
In 1900, the U.S. Congress chartered the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association. The Association acquired the Cedar Hill property after Frederick’s wife’s death in 1903. The home was first restored in 1922. The second restoration project was completed in 1972, and a visitor center was built in 1982.
Design Candidates and Final Selection
The designs for the United States Mint's 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 consultation 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.
The official release ceremony for the 2017 Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Quarter was held on April 4, 2017. Approximately 300 people attended the United States Mint’s official launch ceremony in Washington, D.C., in front of his restored home, Cedar Hill. About seventy-five schoolchildren participated in the ceremony, and each received a free uncirculated example of this circulating commemorative quarter.
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.
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 Frederick Douglass Quarter Value and Prices
|Value and Mintages for the 2017 Frederick Douglass Quarter|
|Date and Mint||
|2017||5 oz. Silver Bullion||35,000||$170.00|
|2017-P||5 oz. Silver Vapor Blast||17,251||$180.00|