The San Francisco Mint is striking all five 2012 America the Beautiful quarter dollars in circulation-quality with the S Mint mark for numismatic sales in 100-coin bags and 40-coin rolls later in the year.
The San Francisco Mint is not striking the coins for circulation, according to Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Public Affairs. The coins will be sold at numismatic premiums above face value.
The San Francisco facility has not struck circulation-quality coins (for circulation or collector sales) since the early 1980s, although it has struck Uncirculated commemorative and bullion coins.
U.S. Mint officials have not yet disclosed when the circulation-quality 2012-S America the Beautiful quarter dollars will be offered for sale.
Jurkowsky said the U.S. Mint plans to strike 7 million 2012-S America the Beautiful quarter dollars in circulation-quality — a maximum of 1.4 million each for coins with reverse designs representing El Yunque National Forest (Puerto Rico), Chaco Culture National Historical Park (New Mexico), Acadia National Park (Maine), Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii) and Denali National Park (Alaska).
Jurkowsky said if numismatic sales of the 2012-S America the Beautiful quarter dollars prove successful, U.S. Mint officials might consider offering additional quarter dollars struck at the San Francisco facility.
“We feel there is a demand for something with the S Mint mark on it,” Jurkowsky said.
To celebrate the San Francisco Mint’s 75th anniversary — marked on May 15 — the facility is already producing a two-coin set containing a Proof 2012-S American Eagle 1-ounce silver coin and Reverse Proof 2012-S American Eagle 1-ounce silver coin. The set will be produced to demand to fill orders taken over a 30-day sales period, with no household ordering limits. The sales period begins at noon Eastern Time June 7 and ends at 5 p.m. Eastern Time July 5.
Coin World had the opportunity for a guided tour of the San Francisco Mint on May 14 to witness production of coins for the two-coin 75th Anniversary set and the circulation-quality 2012-S Acadia National Park quarter dollar, and to learn about new technology in use at the facility (see related stories in this issue of Coin World, page 34, and in future issues).
Quarter dollar output
David Jacobs, production manager at the San Francisco Mint, said the facility is striking the circulation-quality America the Beautiful quarter dollars using dies supplied from the Denver Mint, except the George Washington obverse dies bear the S Mint mark below the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST and not the D Mint mark.
The dies are being used as received and do not undergo any special treatment before being placed in a coinage press, Jacobs said.
Ready-to-strike, copper-nickel clad planchets are being supplied to the San Francisco facility from the Denver and Philadelphia Mints, Jacobs said. The Denver and Philadelphia Mints’ production of circulation-quality America the Beautiful quarter dollars are primarily intended for circulation, though some of the coins are sold as collector products.
The San Francisco Mint is striking the circulation-quality 2012-S America the Beautiful quarter dollars on a Graebener GMP 360 TK press with the dies oriented vertically, according to Jurkowsky.
The upper, or hammer die, represents the George Washington obverse, while the America the Beautiful commemorative reverse designs will appear on the bottom, or anvil dies.
The 2012-S quarter dollars will be struck once, at an average striking pressure of 69 metric tons and a rate of 70 coins per minute. The planchets are delivered to the coinage chamber via feeder fingers that push one piece at a time from gravity-fed, vertical coin blank magazines onto the anvil die.
After striking, the coins are ejected from the coining chamber and drop into a receptacle for later transfer to a steel storage container that will contain 200,000 coins to be sent to an outside vendor for packaging in rolls and bags.
Although the striking pressure and the number of strikes per coin are the same for circulation-quality quarter dollars struck at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints, the Denver and Philadelphia facilities’ output is accomplished on Schuler presses with a single pair of dies striking horizontally at the rate of 700 to 750 coins per minute.
Coin Wrap Inc., a private firm, will package the 2012-S America the Beautiful quarter dollars for the U.S. Mint. Coin Wrap Inc. is headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., where the Philadelphia Mint coins are wrapped and packaged for numismatic sales. The San Francisco Mint quarter dollars will be packaged at the firm’s Denver facility.
All of the numismatic products are shipped to the collectors who ordered them from the U.S. Mint’s contracted order fulfillment center, Pitney-Bowes Government Solutions in Plainfield, Ind.
First strikes since 1980s
The quarter dollars are the first coins struck at the San Francisco facility in circulation quality since 1983 Lincoln cents were produced at the then San Francisco Assay Office for general circulation. The cents, without Mint marks, were identical to 1983 cents struck at the Philadelphia Mint and West Point Bullion Depository.
The San Francisco facility last struck circulation-quality coins with an S Mint mark in 1981 (1981-S Anthony dollars, struck for collector sets); the last pieces with the S Mint mark struck for circulation were 1980-S Anthony dollars.
The San Francisco facility was returned to full Mint status in 1988. ■