Making Moderns column from June 13, 2016, Weekly issue of Coin World:
An unusual corollary feature of the 2010 law authorizing the America the Beautiful Quarters series requires the U.S. Mint to make 3-inch 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion versions with the same denomination.
The silver 5-ounce coins are issued in two formats.
One is a bullion version, without Mint mark, sold only through authorized distributors, same as with the American Eagle bullion coins. Its finish is variable, ranging from flat satin to deeply mirrored. This version is packaged in tubes of 10 coins, which are then put into a “monster box” of 10 tubes.
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The other is an Uncirculated version that the Mint offers individually boxed to all. This version has a P Mint mark for the Philadelphia Mint. Post striking, the surface is vapor blasted to impart a granular matte finish.
Initially, dealers and collectors were critical of aspects of the program. Chiefly, the 25-cent denomination seemed nonsensical; this coin is five times the weight of an American Eagle silver coin, but has one-fourth the face value!
The dimensions are also peculiar. By 2010, many other countries already had 5-ounce silver coins. The 3-inch coin is the largest and thinnest (about 4 millimeters) of all of them, which limits the prospects for dramatic, high-relief renditions of the designs.