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America the Beautiful Quarters 2018 – Block Island

October 8, 2018 0 Comments

Each year five quarters are released in the on-going America the Beautiful series. There is an odd anomaly about these releases though, because while the set of five circulation-grade coins for 2018 is released on October 10, the last quarter – this year of Block Island National Wildlife Refuge – is not officially released until November 13. So collectors who buy the set get an early look at this last coin for 2018, so we thought we would do the same, and take a look at it, even though you won’t be able to start looking for it in your pockets for a few weeks yet.

This coin is the 45th release in the series which will ultimately see 56 National Parks in circulation, starting in 2010 and scheduled to be completed in 2021. This substantial collection offers several ways of collecting it – with scouring your pockets being the cheapest, and the most challenging. Next up is to buy circulation coins as they are released, singly or in the annual sets. At the opposite end would be a collection of the bullion and collector grade 5-ounce silver coins, which, with a 3-inch diameter, really highlight the designs. However you choose to collect them, this is a very worthwhile series with long-term value as a complete set.

The Block Island coin is special too because it is only the second quarter to feature a Wildlife Refuge, rather than a true National Park. While National Parks focus on specific areas, and usually ones of outstanding natural beauty, Wildlife Refuges are all about the birds, animals and other creatures that live in them. They often provide sanctuary for migrating birds, and while you can visit, camping is not permitted, as it is in a National Park, to keep the habitat safer for the wildlife.

Block Island is just 133 acres, and it lies mid-way between Rhode Island and Long Island. A place of rolling sand dunes left behind when the glaciers retreated at the end of the last Ice Age, it is an important stopping point for migratory birds. Berries on the bushes that grow there feed rare species, giving them strength for the next leg of their remarkable journeys.

From 12 design candidates, the final design for the reverse (tails) was chosen, with input from the staff of Block Island. The final design was created by Chris Costello, a graphic designer, and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, a sculptor-designer with the US Mint. A black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) flies over the beach. Although not endangered, this iconic bird stands as a symbol for all the other species that use the island. There are two lighthouses on Block Island, and the North Light is shown in the design. The inscriptions. BLOCK ISLAND, RHODE ISLAND, 2018 and E PLURIBUS UNUM complete the design.

The obverse (heads) has the same design as all the other quarters in the series, John Flanagan’s profile portrait of George Washington. The inscriptions, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY, and QUARTER DOLLAR complete the obverse design.

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