On July 29, 2010, the official launch ceremony for the Yosemite National Park Quarter was held by the United States Mint and the National Park Service. This coin represents the third release in the ongoing America the Beautiful Quarters Program, which will honor a national park or site in each state, U.S. territory, and the District of Columbia presented in the order federally designated.
The general circulation release date for the Yosemite Quarter was a few days earlier on July 26, 2010. On this date, the United States Mint began offering numismatic bags and rolls of the quarters for sale to collectors.
The Yosemite National Park Quarter reverse design features a depiction of El Capitan, a monolith of granite that rises more than 3,000 feet above the Yosemite Valley Floor. Inscriptions read “Yosemite”, “California”, “E Pluribus Unum”, and “2010”. The reverse was designed by Joseph Menna and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The obverse of the coin features John Flanagan’s portrait of George Washington from the 1932 Washington Quarter, with original details restored. Inscriptions read “United States of America”, “Liberty”, “In God We Trust”, and “Quarter Dollar”.
The launch ceremony was held in front of the Yosemite Visitor’s Center in the shadow of Yosemite Falls. A podium was set up in front with seating for 80 visitors, and an area was set up at the very back for the coin exchange. The ceremony began around 11:00 AM and lasted for 45 minutes. It included a mounted Color Guard followed by several speakers. The speakers included Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher, United States Mint Director Edmund Moy, representatives of Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, and cultural historian Tom Bopp.
Approximately 1,200 members of the public were in attendance for the ceremony.
Park Superintendent Don Neubacher said, “This new quarter is yet another way that Yosemite’s legacy will live on by reminding those who take home the Yosemite National Park quarter how special America’s national parks are.”
The ceremony concluded with Director Moy presenting a plaque to Superintendent Neubacher containing two Yosemite National Park Quarters struck at the Philadelphia Mint on the first day of production. Free quarters were then distributed to children in attendance aged of 18 and younger to commemorative the event.
As customary, the ceremony was followed by the coin exchange where attendees could exchange currency for $10 rolls of Yosemite National Park Quarters. A maximum exchange of 10 rolls was in effect and all quarters were gone by 1:30 PM. The exchange was sponsored by the Yosemite Credit Union, a Division of Valley First Credit Union.
A special United States Postal Service cancellation stamp designed by Chuck Taylor was available. Many attendees applied stamps to their rolls in order to have them marked with the commemorative cancellation and postal cancellation stamp. Chuck Taylor was in attendance at the ceremony and assisted the post office in canceling rolls. The lines were long, but orderly, and cancellation continued until shortly after 5:00 PM.
A first hand account of the ceremony and photographs for this article were provided by Cliff and Sherri Butler.
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