One of the most popular coin programs running at the United States Mint at the moment is the America the Beautiful collection. These 5 oz silver coins are struck with five new designs each year from the US Mint, and are available in investment-grade versions as well as beautiful collectible versions.
With each new release in the program, a different state and representative park, forest, or historical site is represented through a brand-new design. The images of these designs are often revealed in the months leading up to a new year, and in early December the final images chosen for the 2017 ATB Silver Coins were revealed by the United States Mint. Below, JM Bullion takes you through each of the five coming releases in the America the Beautiful selection, examining the designs and giving a brief background the represented locations.
Brief Background on the Collection
America the Beautiful coins have their roots in the 50 State Quarters program from the United States Mint. Authorized in December 1997 and released for the first time in 1999, this coin series featured a unique design on the reverse side of circulation quarters. There was no change to the metal content or size of the standard American 25-cent piece, but there was a special location selected to represent each of the 50 states in the Union.
Following the immense success and popularity of the circulation commemorative program, the US Mint opted to release a Territories and DC program representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as Washington DC. In 2008, it was determined that a special bullion coin series was in order to capitalize on the popularity of the circulation coins.
Upcoming 2017 ATB Silver Coin Designs
For the 2017 release of America the Beautiful silver coins, you’ll find the following states or territories represented in the program (in order of release):
- Iowa – Effigy Mounds National Monument
- District of Columbia – Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
- Missouri – Ozark National Scenic Riverways
- New Jersey – Ellis Island (Statue of Liberty National Monument)
- Indiana – George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
First up is the Iowa coin in the 2017 ATB release. The Effigy Mounds National Monument is a federally protected area in the state of Iowa, in Allamakee and Clayton Counties, that preserves more than 200 prehistoric mounds built by various Native American tribes. The mounds have various shapes, with the most common including bears and birds, and were built during the first millennium.
On the reverse of the 2017 1 oz ATB Effigy Mounds National Monument Silver Coin is the image of some of the mounds created by the people of the Woodland Cultures. Included are engravings of the state of issue, representative park, and the year of issue.
Next is the coin representing Washington DC. As the 2nd coin in the ATB Series’ 2017 release schedule, the 2017 5 oz ATB Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Silver Coin honors the site in Washington D.C. administered by the National Park Service that preserves the home and estate of Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist and prominent African American in 19th century America.
On the reverse of the 2017 5 oz ATB Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Silver Coin is the image of Frederick Douglass sitting at his desk, pencil and paper in hand. The image of his home is located in the background, which is preserved to this day at the National Historic Site in D.C.
For the 3rd release of 2017, Missouri is represented. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is an 80,000 acre park located in the Ozarks of southern Missouri. The park protects the Current and Jacks Forks rivers in the area. It not only provides protection to the abundant plant and animals species in the area, but also provides clean recreational options for Americans, of which canoeing the rivers is the most popular past time.
On the reverse of the 2017 5 oz ATB Ozark National Scenic Riverways Silver Coin is the image of a small creek as it rolls toward a fork in the land in front of it, with a modest cabin perched at the fork of the two rivers. Engravings identify the name of the park, the state of issue, and the year of issue for the coin.
The penultimate release of 2017 honors Ellis Island and represents New Jersey in the ATB Series. Ellis Island is actually just one part of the larger Statue of Liberty National Monument complex run by the U.S. National Park Service. Comprised of two islands, the national monument includes Liberty Island with the famed Statue of Liberty reaching her torch high into the sky as a light for the oppressed people of the world.
On neighboring Ellis Island, the main building of the former immigration complex was the busiest immigration center on the eastern seaboard of the United States. Between 1892 and 1954 when the complex was active, an estimated 12 million immigrants came to the US through the immigration processing center on Ellis Island.
On the reverse of all 2017 5 oz ATB Ellis Island National Monument Statue of Liberty Silver Coins is the image of the immigration processing building that still stands to this day on Ellis Island. In the foreground, an immigrant family looks on as their boat pulls into the harbor with a young boy holding a small American flag in his hand.
The final coin in the 2017 ATB collection represents the state of Indiana. On the banks of the Wabash River in Vincennes, Indiana sits the site believed to be home to Fort Sackville. Originally the site was a trading post established by Sieur Juchereau, Lieutenant General of Montreal in 1702. It was renamed Fort Sackville in 1766 by British Lt. John Ramsey after he took control of the settlement and built up the fort in the name of George Germain, Lord Sackville.
Today, the site is known as George Rogers Clark National Historical Park after Lt. Col. Rogers Clark who led American forces in a siege on the fort in 1779. The brother of William Clark, he defeated the British forces under British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton and captured the fort, which remained in American hands throughout the remainder of the Revolution.
On the reverse of the 2017 5 oz ATB George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Silver Coin is the image of frontiersmen under the direction of Lt. Col. Rogers Clark as they charge the British positions. His march from the Mississippi River in mid-winter to defeat the British at Fort Sackville remains one of the great feats of the American Revolutionary War.
Important Details of the ATB Silver Coin Collection
ATB Silver coins were authorized by Congress in 2008 with passage of America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act. Unlike the previous 50 State Quarters program, the ATB Silver coin series called for serious alterations to the appearance of the coins in question to create a unique product. The state quarters placed unique images on the reverse of standard 25-cent pieces, while ATB Coins are struck on brand-new blanks.
The America the Beautiful quarters contain .999 pure silver with a total weight of 5 oz, making each one five times the size of a circulation quarter. The coins were struck in both uncirculated versions for collectors and exhibitors, and bullion for investors. There are a handful of important differences between the two versions. You can tell the two coins apart by looking for the following features:
- On the obverse side of uncirculated coins you’ll find a “P” mint mark below the motto “In God We Trust.” This mark identifies the Philadelphia Mint as the point of origin for the coins. Bullion coins have no mint marks.
- Uncirculated coins have a matte finish that is achieved through vapor blasting after the coins are minted. On the other hand, bullion coins have a mirror-like finish.
- Uncirculated coins ship in individual plastic capsules, placed inside of a presentation box, and are shipped with a certificate of authenticity. Bullion coins ship in the same plastic capsules, mint tubes of 10 coins, or Monster Boxes of 100 coins (10 total tubes).
The vast majority of the new coins in the ATB program featured all-new designs on the reverse side for each of the 50 states. Only Arizona, California, and South Dakota featured images representative of the same locations as used on the state quarters program, however the specific designs of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, and Mount Rushmore (respectively) were different.
Also, while the state quarters and territories quarters were separate programs, America the Beautiful is a 56-coin program that consists of five new design releases each year. The total program consists of one coin for each of the 50 US states, the five territories mentioned earlier, and the federal district in Washington DC. The coins were first released in 2010, with five new coins released annually through 2021. The Secretary of the Treasury has been given the power to extend the program through 2033 if deemed necessary.
2017 America the Beautiful Silver Coins from JM Bullion
JM Bullion will proudly carry all of the 2017 America the Beautiful Silver coins, both bullion and uncirculated alike. When the coins first release we’ll carry the BU versions of the coin, which feature no signs of wear and tear, even though you may notice minor flaws such as breaks in the luster, spotted surfaces, or contact marks from production. As the year moves along, keep an eye on our portfolio for proof and certified versions of the coin.