Vicksburg quarter dollar launch ceremony draws 2,600

USS Cairo, seen on coin, serves as backdrop at Mississippi park
Published : 09/10/11
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An estimated 2,600 people, including 2,000 area school students, attended the U.S. Mint’s Aug. 30 launch ceremony in Mississippi for the 2011 Vicksburg National Military Park quarter dollar.

The ceremony and subsequent coin exchange were held a day after the Vicksburg National Military Park quarter dollar was released into circulation through the Federal Reserve and offered in bags and rolls by the United States Mint.

U.S. Mint Chief of Staff Al Runnels presided over the festivities, with remarks also delivered by Michael Madell, superintendent of Vicksburg National Military Park.

“America the Beautiful quarters are a standing invitation for all Americans to come along on a journey to each national site,” Runnels said. “Today’s launch starts the journey of the Vicksburg National Military Park quarters as they pass from American hand to American hand, connecting America through coins.”

The Vicksburg coin represents the ninth release in the scheduled 56-coin America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

Vicksburg National Military Park was first established as a national historic site on Feb. 21, 1899 (31 Stat. 841).

Participants at the event acquired $18,700 in 2011-P Vicksburg quarter dollars in $10 face value rolls of 40 coins each in exchange Aug. 30. Trustmark Bank in Vicksburg sponsored the roll exchange.

Those 18 years of age and younger received a free quarter dollar from the U.S. Mint to commemorate the event.

The U.S. Mint also hosted a collector forum the evening of Aug. 29 at the park’s visitors center where U.S. coinage issues and U.S. Mint coin initiatives and programs were discussed by participants.

The reverse of the 2011 Vicksburg National Military Park quarter dollar was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Thomas Cleveland and sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Joseph F. Menna. It depicts the USS Cairo ironclad warship on the Yazoo River as it would have been seen when it served the Union Navy during the Civil War.

Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War — the campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg, Miss.

Vicksburg’s surrender on July 4, 1863, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, La., split the South, giving control of the Mississippi River to the North.

The museum exhibits at the park depict the hardships of civilians and soldiers during the 47-day siege of the city. More than 1,350 monuments, a national cemetery and the restored Union ironclad gunboat, USS Cairo, mark a 16-mile tour road that winds through the park.

The USS Cairo was the first warship sunk by an electrically detonated torpedo, which ushered in a new age of naval warfare.

To order any of the numismatic products offered by the U.S. Mint containing the Vicksburg National Military Park quarter dollar in circulation-quality, Proof and Uncirculated Mint set finishes, visit the Mint’s online catalog at or call the order line at 800-872-6468.

Hearing- and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order at 1-888-321-6468. ■

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