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America the Beautiful Quarters 2018 Silver Proof Set

February 26, 2018 0 Comments

Every year since 2010 the US Mint has created 5 new coins in its America the Beautiful Quarters series. Besides the steady release of each circulation coin through the year, in the early months of each year sets are released for collectors. Back in January, with the release of the first circulation quarter for the year, there was a proof set released. These collector-grade coins have a proof finish to distinguish them from coins in circulation, but their metal composition is the same. February 22 saw the release of a silver proof set. This set has all 5 of the quarters for 2018, but in 90% silver.

We have already described in detail the first quarter for 2018 – the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, with a dramatic picture of a solitary white pine tree growing on a pierced rock formation called Chapel Rock. The remaining coins in the series depict other National Park sites, and although we will undoubtedly describe these in more detail as the circulation coins are released through the year, here is a summary.

Three of the five quarters for 2018 depict birds, perhaps because wild-life conservation has been in the media a great deal lately, with concerns about global warming and ocean pollution. The birds featured are firstly the common loon, which appears on the Voyageurs National Park quarter. This park, in northern Minnesota near the town of International Falls, was established in 1975. The voyageurs were French-Canadian fur traders who worked around the Great Lakes, and they were often the first European settlers who travelled through those wilderness areas. The park is a canoe and kayak paradise, and loons are a feature of the area.

The second bird depicted is a snowy egret, on the Cumberland Island National Seashore quarter. This park, in Camden County, Georgia, is a world away from the rocks of Minnesota, and is a reserve of salt marshes, beaches, sand dunes and lakes. It is the largest of the Georgia barrier islands, with a great diversity of wildlife, especially birds. The island is remarkable for its remoteness, the limited access, and lack of roads or even trails on the island.

Finally, there is the a black-crowned night-heron, on the quarter highlighting the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. Just 12 miles offshore from Rhode Island, and just 27 acres, this island is recognized around the world as one of the most important migratory bird habitats on the east coast of America. Every fall hundreds of “birders” arrive to see the many songbirds that rest here before continuing their epic migrations down the Atlantic coast.

The fifth quarter is of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. These islands in Lake Superior, of Wisconsin, have several historic lighthouses, one of which is shown on the coin, along with the sea caves found on Devils Island.

Of course, this set will mainly be of interest to collectors, but since it contains almost a troy ounce of silver, it could have melt value in the future. Right now its price is about twice the melt value, but considering that silver has historically been triple what it is today, that still leaves room for it to double in value – and of course more with its collectors value – if silver returns to its historic high.

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