Despite frigid outdoor temperatures in the single digits, more than 400 people braved the elements Nov. 15 in Healy, Alaska, for the ceremonial launch of the 2012 Denali National Park and Preserve quarter dollar.
Kris Fister, public affairs officer for the Denali National Park and Preserve, said about half the attendees at the Tri-Valley Community Center ceremony were students from all three of the Denali Borough Schools and the local pre-school. Local citizens, National Park Service staff and coin enthusiasts from other parts of Alaska or out of the state made up the mix of remaining attendees.
The evening before the launch ceremony, David Croft, plant manager at the Denver Mint and the U.S. Mint’s representative at the launch, met with about 30 people to provide information on current U.S. Mint coin programs and to receive input on suggested initiatives and products.
Croft, as well as Jeff Mow, acting park superintendent, and Jane Bryant, the park’s historian, delivered remarks during the Nov. 15 launch ceremony. Bryant explained the importance of Dall sheep, including as a local food source.
At the conclusion of the program, Croft and Mow ceremonially poured a bag of Uncirculated circulation-quality 2012-P Denali National Park and Preserve quarter dollars into a pan used for panning gold.
Mow distributed single 2012-P quarter dollars free to each of the school students in attendance.
The Healy branch of the First National Bank of Alaska, the only bank in the community of approximately 1,000 people, oversaw the ensuing quarter dollar exchange. Attendees were able to exchange cash for $10 rolls (40 coins) of the new quarter dollars struck at the Philadelphia Mint, with a minimum exchange of one roll and a maximum of 10 rolls.
Bank officials reported exchanging $12,000 face value worth (1,200 rolls, totaling 48,000 coins) of the new quarter dollars.
The 2012 Denali National Park and Preserve quarter dollar was designed by Susan Gamble, a master designer with U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program, and sculptured by Jim Licaretz, a medallic sculptor from the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff stationed at the Philadelphia Mint.
The design features a Dall sheep with Mount McKinley rising in the background.
The 2012 Denali National Park and Preserve quarter dollar was released into general circulation through the Federal Reserve on Nov. 5. ■