The United States Mint released the latest issue in its America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. The 2011 Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter arrived August 29 and is available in 100-coin bags for $49.95 and two-roll sets containing 80 quarters for $39.95. The Federal Reserve Banks also released the new quarter into circulation.
The Vicksburg quarter is the fourth 2011 park quarter and the ninth in the multi-year national park quarters series. It is also the second military park quarter, honoring one of the nation’s Civil War memorial sites located in Mississippi.
The reverse on the Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter depicts the gunboat used by the Union Navy during the Civil War, the U.S.S. Cairo. The boat is shown on the Yazoo River. Thomas Cleveland designed the reverse, and it was engraved by Joseph Menna. Inscriptions include VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI, 2011 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Seeing the new coin in circulation will be a challenge since it will take time, especially in this economy, to get dispersed. The latest update from the U.S. Mint’s production figures do not show the Vicksburg mintage, but it does show the Mint has only been producing approximately 61 million of each 2011 design. Those numbers are small compared to the lowest number in 2010, the Yellowstone park quarter with 68.4 million, and the lowest in 2009, the Northern Mariana Islands quarter with 72.8 million. Hence, the bags and rolls sold directly by the United States Mint are an easy option for finding new quarters to add to collections right now.
Demand for the bags and rolls of recent quarter releases has been slowing down compared to the first few coins in the series. During the previous launch, for the Olympic Quarter, sales for the 100-coin bags debuted at 2,518 for the Philadelphia strikes and 2,477 for the Denver strikes. The two-roll set was greater with 18,448, but the Glacier two-roll set debuted at 19,927 and the Gettysburg two-roll set opened with 20,871.
As a comparison, the Hot Springs quarter opened with 5,268 (P) and 4,915 (D) 100-coin bag sales and 25,983 two-roll set sales. The Yellowstone quarter two-roll set sold 23,273 and the Yosemite quarter two-roll set debuted at 23,416. Their 100-coin bag sales were each in the 4K range.
The 2011 Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter bags and rolls may be ordered directly from the United States Mint website (http://www.usmint.gov/), or its toll free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). The standard $4.95 shipping and handling fee applies to all domestic orders.
Also occurring on August 29 was a free public coin forum, which proceeded the Vicksburg quarter launch ceremony on Tuesday, August 30 at 9:30 a.m. Central Daylight Time in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Monday night coin forum was an opportunity for visitors to ask questions about coin programs to US Mint officials.
The Vicksburg quarter ceremony was held Tuesday morning, outside, near the U.S.S. Cairo Exhibit Museum in the military park. Thousands of adults and children attended the release. Key note speakers included Fred A. (Al) Runnels, Chief of Staff, U.S. Mint, and Michael Madell, Superintendent of Vicksburg National Military Park. Immediately following the ceremony was the coin exchange, where adults stood in line to exchange cash for $10 rolls of the new quarters at face value. Children at the ceremony were given a free Vicksburg quarter to commemorate the event.
In a statement distributed by the US Mint regarding Vicksburg, the Mint said, "Depiction of this historic icon on the quarter emphasizes the crucial importance of control of the Mississippi River to both the Union and the Confederate armies during the American Civil War, the contributions of the U.S. Navy in the Vicksburg Campaign, and Vicksburg’s role as the ultimate turning point of the war. The U.S.S. Cairo, a U.S. Navy (Union) ironclad river gunboat, was sunk by Confederates in the Yazoo River north of Vicksburg on December 12, 1862. She was raised on December 12, 1964 and is on permanent display, along with all artifacts salvaged, at Vicksburg National Military Park."
For information on other releases this year, check out the 2011 quarters page.