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Voyageurs National Park – America the Beautiful Quarter

June 11, 2018 0 Comments

Jun 11, 2018 is the official entry into circulation of the latest quarter in the America the Beautiful series. The release ceremony will take place on June 14. This is the 43 in the series, and the third release for 2018. The choice of parks to show on these quarters is by date, and Voyageurs National Park was officially inaugurated in 1971.

Voyageurs National Park is in northern Minnesota, near the town of International Falls. It is over 200,000 acres, and it is visited by almost one-quarter-million people each year. The park is made up of the Kabetogama Peninsula and the surrounding waterways and coast line. This isolated natural area is popular for boating and kayaking, and the peninsula is only accessible by water. The gold-rush ghost town of Rainy Lake City stands on the peninsula, with a saloon and the remains of other buildings. Kettle Falls Hotel, built in 1910, only operates in the summer, and is only accessible by boat. The park is full of islands and attractive cliffs towering over the water. Black bears, wolves, loons and bald eagles live among the woods and cliffs.

The area was first seen by Europeans in 1688, when the French explorer Jacques de Noyon spent a winter here. Native Americans have lived here for at least 10,000 years. The park is named after the Voyageurs, who travelled through these rivers to trade for beaver pelts to satisfy the European demand for them. The local tribes provided food, transport, and often the furs which then were shipped back to Europe to be made into felt for hat making. With over 200,000 pelts being exported, beavers were driven almost to extinction, but have recovered in no small part due to the presence of parks like the Voyageurs. During the 19th century the area was logged for white pine, which was tied into rafts and floated down-river to a place called Hoist Bay, where they were ‘hoisted’ on to trains and transported to mills in the town of Virginia, Minnesota.

The reverse shows a common loon swimming across the water at the foot of a rocky cliff, with three white pine trees growing at the water’s edge. The inscriptions read, VOYAGEURS; MINNESOTA; 2018; E PLURIBUS UNUM. Both Denver and Philadelphia are minting this coin, so both mint marks can be found. The design is by Patricia Lucas-Morris, an artist and designer of children’s books, technical illustrations, medals, and coins with the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program. The engraving was done by the Mint’s artist engraver, Joseph Menna.

The obverse is the standard bust of Washington in profile, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; LIBERTY; IN GOD WE TRUST; and QUARTER DOLLAR around the edges.

Although this coin is released on June 11, it might be months before you find one in your pocket, because the Federal Reserve Bank distributes coinage without regard to its design, and with so many quarters in circulation it can take a while for new coins to make it to the streets. So keep looking – and of course you will need both mint marks – for that loon on your quarter, and celebrate America the Beautiful.

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