The 5 ounce 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins were the inaugural issues in a new series by the United States Mint. The strikes are collector versions of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins®, featuring the same designs and core coin specifications.
Those specifications include a composition of 5 ounces of .999 fine silver. The massive amount of the precious metal qualifies both series as the largest coins in production by the US Mint.
The major difference between the 5 ounce collector coins and the 5 ounce bullion versions, aside from the collector uncirculated finish, is the "P" mintmark. While both series are produced at the US Mint facility in Philadelphia, only the uncirculated issues show the "P" mintmark.
Initial requirements for the bullion coins demanded that each be three inches in diameter. The first releases of the uncirculated coins followed those specifications as well. Since then, however, new legislation was signed into law in late 2010 allowing the US Mint the flexibility to adjust the diameter to be anywhere from 2.5 inches to 3 inches. The range given the Mint is in direct response to earlier technical difficulties it experienced when striking the five ounce coins during their development phase. The three inch diameter requirement resulted in a very thin blank planchet which did not take an edge inscription well. The Mint was able to overcome those challenges and has since opted to keep the original standard.
The edge inscription was another initial requirement placed on the bullion coins dictating that the coin’s weight and fineness be placed there. That requirement on the associated bullion coins was changed as well but once again the Mint has chosen to keep with the original requirements for both those strikes as well as the uncirculated series.
Both the obverse and reverse designs on these uncirculated coins (and the bullion versions) are similar to those found on the circulating America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. As such, the obverse features a portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. The portrait was completed by John Flanagan and initially used on the circulating 1932 quarter dollar. It has appeared in one form or another on the quarter dollar ever since.
Reverse designs are emblematic of a selected site of national interest from around the United States. Sites include locations such as national parks, national forests, national memorials, etc. One site was chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US territories for a total of fifty-six locations.
The US Mint will strike five America the Beautiful 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins annually, just like the silver bullion and circulating quarter programs. Typically, the uncirculated coins will be released in the same year as the date they show. However, the inaugural 2010 issues were not released by the Mint until 2011 owing to the initial production difficulties described earlier.
As numismatic products of the US Mint, these silver uncirculated pieces will be sold directly to the public. This is in contrast to the related bullion versions which are sold through the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers.
Brief information for each of five 2010 America the Beautiful 5 Ounce Silver Coins follows. Additional details for each may be found by following the provided links.
2010 Hot Springs 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
The Hot Springs Silver Uncirculated Coins feature a reverse design honoring Hot Springs National Park, located in the state of Arkansas. This national park was created on March 4, 1921, but the land within it was originally protected by the federal government as the Hot Springs Reservation on April 20, 1832.
Shown on the reverse is an image of the facade the Hot Springs National Park Headquarters Building. In front of the building, a thermal fountain is shown. The design was completed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart and sculpted by Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
2010 Yellowstone 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
The Yellowstone Silver Uncirculated Coins showcase Yellowstone National Park on their reverse. Yellowstone is located mostly in the state of Wyoming and has the distinction of being the first national park in the United States and in the world. It was created as such on March 1, 1872.
On the reverse, an image of Yellowstone’s most famous icon, Old Faithful Geyser, is shown. Two American bison are also shown, one in front of and one in back of the geyser. The reverse was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart.
2010 Yosemite 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
Released as the third coin in the series are the Yosemite Silver Uncirculated Coins. These strikes honor Yosemite National Park of California with a design on their reverse. Yosemite was created as a national park on October 1, 1890.
The reverse design of the strike shows the massive granite monolith of El Capitan which is found within the park’s boundaries. The design is the work of United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna and was sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
2010 Grand Canyon 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
The Grand Canyon Silver Uncirculated Coins are the fourth release in the series and honor Grand Canyon National Park of Arizona. This national park was created on February 26, 1919, but had been given federal protection as far back as 1893 when President Benjamin Harrison declared it as the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve.
A small portion of the massive canyon is shown in the reverse of the coins depicting a view of the granaries above the Nankoweap Delta in Marble Canyon near the Colorado River. This reverse was completed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
2010 Mount Hood 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
Appearing as the final of the 2010-dated strikes in the America the Beautiful 5 Ounce series will be the Mount Hood Silver Uncirculated Coins. These strikes honor Mount Hood National Forest, located in the state of Oregon, with an emblematic design shown on their reverse. Mount Hood was initially established as part of a forest reserve in 1892.
The design on the reverse shows the massive mountain of Mount Hood with Lost Lake depicted in the foreground. This reverse was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
A site dedicated to the series can be found by clicking America the Beautiful Silver Coins.