Ellis Island National Monument in New Jersey is the fourth of five sites commemorated in 2017 on a U.S. quarter. Officially, it is the thirty-ninth of fifty-six coins from the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.
The series debuted in 2010 with five new quarter-dollars. Each subsequent year and until the final release in 2021, an additional five are issued. A complete listing of honored sites is available on the Park Quarters Release Schedule page.
Here are some important dates and events for New Jersey’s Ellis Island quarter:
- its release into general circulation on August 28, 2017;
- its release in U.S. Mint-branded rolls and bags at www.usmint.gov, also on August 28, 2017;
- its official launch ceremony by the U.S. Mint and the National Park Service at the flagpole area on the island, scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on August 30, 2017; and
- a U.S. Mint coin forum at the same location as the quarter ceremony, held at 12:30 p.m. on August 30.
Coin forums offer an opportunity to talk with U.S. Mint officials about current and upcoming products. Quarter ceremonies and coin forums are open to the public and free.
Coin Exchanges and Getting New Quarters
Coin exchanges happen immediately following quarter launch ceremonies. They are at the same location of the event and give everyone a chance to exchange cash for $10 rolls of a newly released quarter.
It is often hard to find new quarters as it can take months and sometimes years before they will appear regularly in change. Easier methods of getting them include coin exchanges and buying them straight from the U.S. Mint (www.usmint.gov).
Designs on Ellis Island National Monument Quarter
Eight reverse candidates for the quarter were originally developed by the U.S. Mint in consultation with representatives of national monument. The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury selected the final design following some changes after the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee reviewed the candidates.
Created by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, the selected design depicts an immigrant family approaching Ellis Island with a mixture of hope and uncertainty. Surrounding the design are inscriptions reading "ELLIS ISLAND," "NEW JERSEY," "2017," and "E PLURIBUS UNUM."
Quarter obverses (heads) share the same portrait of George Washington as created by John Flanagan.
Both obverse and reverse designs are also on a series of U.S. Mint bullion and collector 3-inch diameter, 5-ounce silver coins.
The other 2017-dated quarters celebrate:
- Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa (Iowa),
- Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (Washington, D.C.),
- Ozark National Scenic Riverways Quarter (Missouri), and
- George Rogers Clark National Historical Park (Indiana).
Information About Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty)
Ellis Island National Monument of New Jersey was named after Samuel Ellis, who owned the island before it became an immigration headquarters. Throughout the entire time that Ellis Island was open to immigrants, there were over 12 million people who passed through, which is how over 40% of Americans can trace their ancestry to the island.
Due to a change in immigration laws the United States needed a place to process incoming immigrants. Immigration used to be handled at the state level, and each state had different requirements. Eventually, as immigration laws began to evolve, it was easier for embassies overseas to handle outgoing residents of other countries. In 1954, Ellis Island closed.
Each year, visitors come to tour the island, which was reopened in 1990 as a museum. It expanded from 3.3 to 27.5 acres thanks to construction from the New York subway system, and other sources. The excess land from the construction was used to build up the island.