By CHELSEA JENSEN
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park's East Rift Zone will grace the face of an America the Beautiful Quarter to be released this summer.
The strike honors the park with a depiction of an active Kilauea East Rift Zone eruption, said the park's Superintendent Cindy Orlando. On the coin's obverse is a restored John Flanagan portrait of George Washington, which has appeared on circulating quarters since 1932, according to the U.S. Mint, which runs the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.
Inscribed on the commemorative coin, which was designed and sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor and Engraver Charles L. Vickers, is "Hawaii Volcanoes," "Hawaii 2012" and "E Pluribus Unum."
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which opened in August 1916, is the only national park or national site in Hawaii chosen for the program, according to the U.S. Mint's register of selected sites. It will be released for general circulation on Aug. 27, said Orlando.
"We're very honored to be selected," she said. "It's a wonderful piece for collectors and it's a really big deal (for the park)."
The volcano was likely chosen by the U.S. Mint because it is the park's main interest, Orland said, and noted other designs such as hula dancers and a chant scene had been submitted. The volcano image is also simple and clear to recreate.
"We're dealing with a quarter and that's a pretty small area to get an image onto, so, obviously the volcanic activity is what is the most interesting at the park," Orlando explained.
The cupronickel Clad coin is authorized as part of the America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, which requires the Secretary of the Treasury to select in each state a national park or other national site to be honored with a coin, according to the U.S. Mint.
The 56-coin series features five strikes released annually in the order in which the featured site was first established through 2021. The first strike occurred in 2010, according to the U.S. Mint.
In addition to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park quarter, the U.S. Mint will also release as part of the program in 2012 coins for El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Acadia National Park in Maine and Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska.
For more information on the U.S. Mint's America The Beautiful Quarters Program, visit usmint.gov/mint_programs/atb.
Email Chelsea Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.