The 2011 America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins mark the second year of issues in the series from the United States Mint. The silver uncirculated coins are collector versions of the 5-ounce America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins®, which are also struck by the US Mint but are intended more for investors.
The bullion coins were authorized by Congress under Public Law 110-456, Title II known as the "America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008." The silver uncirculated coins, however, are struck under the authority granted to the U.S. Treasury Secretary in 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3) which allows the Secretary the discretion to produce and sell numismatic products.
Both types of coins feature similar imagery based on a third series of coins from the Mint, the America the Beautiful Quarters®. Consequently, the reverse (tails) side of all three coins feature designs emblematic of sites of national interest from around the United States and its territories. Five are scheduled to be released annually under each series with their debut strikes occurring in 2010 and the final issued planned for 2021.
The silver coins, including both the bullion and the uncirculated, are struck from five ounce of .999 fine silver. Initial specifications for the bullion strikes required the diameter to be three inches. Those specifications have since been modified to allow a range (2.5-3.0 inches) in the diameter, but the US Mint is not required to make any changes if it does not see fit.
Coins of the America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coin Program are initially sold directly to the public by the US Mint. This is in contrast to the related bullion coins which are sold through the US Mint’s network of authorized purchasers.
Brief information for each of five 2011 America the Beautiful Five Ounce Uncirculated Silver Coins follows. Additional details for each may be found by following the provided links.
2011 Gettysburg 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
The Gettysburg Silver Uncirculated Coins feature a reverse design emblematic of Gettysburg National Military Park found in the state of Pennsylvania. The park was originally established by the War Department on February 11, 1895 to preserve the location of the American Civil War Battle of Gettysburg fought 30-plus years before. Ownership was transferred to the National Park Service in 1933.
On the reverse of the Gettysburg silver coin is an image of the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument. It is one of the more famous of the 1,400 monuments and markers found within the park, and is located on the battle line of the Union Army where it was located during the battle. The image was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
2011 Glacier 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
The Glacier Silver Uncirculated Coins honor Glacier National Park of Montana. Glacier was officially established as a national park on May 11, 1910, but it was first classified a forest preserve in 1897. Both of these designations were after intense lobbying put on Congress by the Great Northern Railway which serviced the area and saw it as an ideal vacation destination for its customers.
The reverse of the Glacier Silver Coins feature a mountain goat traversing the difficult landscape in the area. The iconic northeastern slope of Mount Reynolds is found off in the distance. The design is the work of AIP Associate Designer Barbara Fox. It was sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles Vickers.
2011 Olympic 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
The third coins to appear for the year in the series are the Olympic Silver Uncirculated Coins. They honor Olympic National Park of Washington. This area was first designated as Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909 but its designation was changed to that of a national park on June 29, 1938.
Shown on the reverse is one of the park’s iconic Roosevelt Elk poised on a gravel bar of the Hoh River with the massive Mount Olympus shown in the background. The design was completed by AIP Master Designer Susan Gamble and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso.
2011 Vicksburg 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
The Vicksburg Silver Uncirculated Coins are the fourth issues in the series for the year. These strikes honor Vicksburg National Military Park of Mississippi. The military park was first established by the War Department on February 21, 1899. Control of the park was transferred to the National Park Service in 1933.
The reverse of the Vicksburg Coin shows a rendition of the Civil War era gunboat USS Cairo as it might have looked steaming down the Yazoo River during the war. The Cairo was salvaged and partially restored and is currently on display at the military park. The design is the work of AIP Master Designer Thomas Cleveland and was sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
2011 Chickasaw 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins
The final 2011 strike of the series are the Chickasaw Silver Uncirculated Coins honoring Chickasaw National Recreation Area of Oklahoma. This site was first designated a reservation on July 1, 1902, from 640 acres of land bought from the Chickasaw Indian Nation. It went through a few other designations before becoming the Chickasaw National Recreation Area on March 17, 1976.
For the reverse, an image of the limestone Lincoln Bridge is shown. This bridge is one of the favorite scenic spots found within the recreation area and was dedicated on the centennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln in 1909. It was designed by AIP Master Designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz.
A site dedicated to the series can be found by clicking 5 oz silver coins.