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U.S. Mint National Park Service Centennial Commemoratives

U.S. Mint National Park Service Centennial Commemoratives
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Posted: 03-23-2016

The U.S. Mint has released their second congressionally-authorized commemorative coin program for 2016, with this group of coins celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service! These coins are struck with design that truly reflect the beauty and serenity of Americas National Parks.

U.S. Mint National Park Service Centennial Commemoratives

2016 National Park Service Centennial Coin Program

In addition to the previously released 2016 silver dollars and $5 gold coins honoring Mark Twain, on March 24 the Mint launched its second commemorative program for the year, consisting of three coins to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The launch ceremony was held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, where the coins were also sold. 

The National Park Service (NPS) is a U.S. government agency that manages all U.S. national parks, many of our national monuments, and other important properties and natural resources. Altogether there are 400 parks and other properties managed by the service.

2016 National Park Service Commemorative Half DollarThe NPS centennial coins include a silver dollar, half dollar, and $5 gold piece each available in both uncirculated and proof finishes. A three-coin proof set limited to 15,000 sets will also be offered. Authorized under Public Law 113-291, which was signed into law by President Obama on December 14, 2014, the NPS centennial coin program calls for the minting of no more than 500,000 silver dollars, 750,000 clad half dollars, and 100,000 gold half eagles.

These are authorized maximum mintages. The Mint produces such coins in batches based on sales levels and anticipated demand. In practice, far fewer than the maximum has been produced in recent years, especially since collectors have so many numismatic choices from the Mint every year.

Surcharges from the sale of these coins, which are $35 for the gold coin, $10 for the silver dollar, and $5 for the clad half dollar, will go to preserve and protect national resources that are under the stewardship of the NPS and to promote the public enjoyment and greater awareness of those resources.

Design Features for the National Park Service Commemoratives

2016 National Park Service Commemorative Silver Dollar

Both the dollar and half dollar coin feature modern designs that highlight various aspects of the National Park Service.

The silver dollar’s obverse, designed and engraved by Joseph Menna, features an image from Yellowstone National Park. Founded in 1872, this is actually the oldest National Park in the United States of America. The obverse shows the famous Old Faithful geyser and a bison, while the reverse depicts a Latina folklore dancer and the National Park Service logo. This stunning image was created by Chris Costello and engraved by Jim Licaretz. Both the proof and uncirculated versions of this coin were struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

The half dollar obverse shows a hiker at a national park exploring the wilderness and a young child finding a frog amid the ferns. The reverse shows an image of the official National Park Service logo. The uncirculated half dollar was struck at the Denver Mint, while the proof was produced at the San Francisco Mint. The obverse of the half dollar was designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso, while the reverse was designed by Thomas Hipschen and sculpted by Charles Vickers.

The $5 gold commemorative uses a more classic design with an obverse that shows side-by-side profiles of John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, the two men who played the largest role in establishing the national parks. Behind both of these men is a background image of the Yosemite National Park half dome. The reverse again uses NPS logo, but this time it is shows as a sign that might be seen hanging from a post in one of the parks. Both the proof and uncirculated versions were struck at the West Point Mint. The gold coin was designed and engraved by Don Everhart, the Mint’s most prolific current sculptor-engraver, who has designed more coins than anyone else at the Mint today.

John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt

2016 $5 Gold National Park Service John Muir was a Scottish-American environmental philosopher, naturalist, and author, who devoted the later part of his life to the preservation of Western U.S. forests. He petitioned the U.S. Congress regarding the National Park legislation of 1890, which led to the creation of Yosemite park.

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president, was a man of enormous talents and achievements. He was most proud of his work as a conservationist, where he has had a lasting impact as the father of the national parks and the U.S. forest service. He signed into law legislation creating five national parks, proclaimed 18 new national monuments, and established many bird and game reserves and 150 national forests.

Ceremonial Striking of the National Park Service Commemoratives

On March 9th, the Mint opened the doors of the San Francisco Mint to the numismatic press for a ceremonial striking of an NPS centennial proof clad half dollar. This event, which provided a behind-the-scenes view of the production of the coin, was attended by representatives of the NPS, the John Muir Historical site, and other groups as well as national park rangers, including the oldest serving ranger, and the San Francisco Mint’s plant manager.

Americans love their national parks and are strong believers in the importance of preserving our precious natural resources. These three coins are a great way to celebrate our national parks and national monuments and the diverse heritage and cultural traditions of the U.S.  

ModernCoinMart will carry the full range of these coins in their official Mint packaging, as well as certified by NGC and soon PCGS. The NGC certified coins also come with the option of a Theodore Roosevelt label!

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About The Author

Louis Golino Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.

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