Congress passed the “America’s Beautiful National Parks Act of 2008. This law provided not only for circulating quarters highlighting our “sites of natural or historical significance” for our 50 states, 5 territories and the District of Columbia. The majority of these sites honored were our system of National Parks.
In addition to the clad circulating coinage, the Act also authorized Proof examples struck between 2010 and 2018 to be 90% Silver and those struck in 2019 to 2021 to be struck in .999 Fine Silver. More importantly, there would be companion 5-ounce silver coins struck in .999 Fine Silver which would be issued in the same annual installments as the circulating coins were issued. These coins would popularly be called simply “ATBs.”
There would be five coins issued per year from 2010 through 2020 and 1 coin issued in 2021 as follows:
Before any coins were struck a new coining press was ordered, installed, and tested at the Philadelphia Mint. The U.S. Mint had never before struck a large (76.2mm) 5-ounce silver bullion coin like this. This press is capable of striking up to one million coins per year. As with the American Silver Eagle Bullion coins, the 5-ounce silver blanks for these ATB coins would be provided by Sunshine Minting.
The designs of the coins featured the standard left facing profile of George Washington, that was created in 1932 by the artist John Flanagan for the 1932 Washington Quarter, and it still is in use on today’s circulating coinage. To the left, in front of the portrait is “LIBERTY,” and to the right, behind it, is “IN GOD WE TRUST.” The upper periphery has the phrase “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” while the lower periphery has the denomination “QUARTER DOLLAR.”
The reverse designs representing each state and territory were collaborative decisions between the Governors of each state and territory, the Department of the Interior, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the US Commission of Fine Arts. The Secretary of the Treasury would have the final say in all design matters.
The approved design would become the central vignette of the reverse of these coins. Each would differ of course, but each would display on the outer periphery the name of the celebrated site, the name of the state or territory, the phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” and the date of issue.
Even these large 5-ounce silver coins carried the nominal face value of only a Quarter Dollar, but as sovereign coins a denomination was required. Unlike the average Quarter Dollar that has reeding on the edge of the coin, these ATB’s and inscribed on the edge with “999 FINE SILVER 5.0 OUNCE.”
(A 2010-P Arkansas – Hot Springs National Park, America the Beautiful 5-ounce Silver Bullion Quarter Dollar, Obverse [left] Reverse[right]. The first coin issued.)
The Arkansas coin was the first coin selected and struck. It honored Hot Springs National Park.
The last coin to be struck in this ATB series was the 2021-(P) Alabama Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site coin.
(A 2021-(P) Alabama – Tuskegee Airmen Historic Site, America the Beautiful 5-ounce Silver Bullion Quarter Dollar, Obverse [left] Reverse[right]. The last coin issued.)
There are two varieties of these 5-ounce silver bullion coins. There is a BULLION version and an UNCIRCULATED version.
(A 2019-P Lowell National Historic Park (Massachusetts) 5-Ounce America the Beautiful Uncirculated coin.)
There are differences between the Uncirculated coins and the bullion coins as follows. The Uncirculated coins have:
- The Uncirculated coins come from the Mint in a capsule and box and a certificate of authenticity. They are packaged similarly as Proof coins are packaged.
- These Uncirculated coins are vapor blasted after they have been struck which provides a matte finish to them.
- The Uncirculated coins have a “P” mintmark under the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
(A box of (100) 2019 Lowell National Historic Park (Massachusetts) 5-Ounce America the Beautiful bullion coins.)
The Bullion coins have:
- The bullion version is shipped in tubes of 10 coins.
- The tubes are shipped by the mint in “monster boxes”, ten tubes to a box.
- The bullion coins have a shinier finish. They do not have a matte finish like the Uncirculated coins do.
- The bullion coins do not have a mint mark.
The America the Beautiful 5-Ounce bullion coins proved very popular among both collectors and investors.