American Samoa site for Feb. 13 quarter dollar launch events
- Published: Feb 22, 2020, 9 AM
A tropical downpour in American Samoa wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits Feb. 13 of an estimated 800 people, including 500 schoolchildren, attending the U.S. Mint’s official launch ceremony for the 2020 National Park of American Samoa quarter dollar.
The ceremony was held at Su’igaula o le Atuvasa, Utulei Beach Park, Route 1, in Utulei, American Samoa.
The rainfall before and during the ceremony was not unexpected. The rainy season in American Samoa lasts from November to May, and downpours occur frequently. According to the National Park Service, “expect it to rain at anytime,” adding, “the average annual rainfall in the drier portions of the island is 125 inches to as much as 300 inches in the highest mountains.”
“It was a tropical downpour the night prior extending into the morning of the event, which slowly tapered to a steady drizzle midway through the event, and eventually a sprinkle by event’s end, according to Mint spokesman Michael White.
The Mint had planned to hold the event outdoors under tents provided in anticipation of inclement weather.
During his remarks, U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder addressed the significance of the new quarter design.
“The National Park of American Samoa quarter serves as a symbol of conservation and care,” Ryder said. “Just as the mother fruit bat nurtures and protects her pup right here in the park, the people and villages of American Samoa work together to safeguard these protected resources.”
Additional participants included Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale; Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen; Fiu Saelua, chief of staff of the governor’s office, who also served as master of ceremonies; Stanley Austin, regional director of the National Park Service’s Pacific West Region; and Scott Burch, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa.
Following the ceremony, the Territorial Bank of American Samoa exchanged $7,000 in $10 face value rolls of 2020-D quarter dollars for cash from attendees seeking the Uncirculated circulation-quality finish coins.
All of the schoolchildren in attendance each received free from the U.S. Mint a 2020-D National Park of American Samoa quarter dollar.
The Mint did not conduct a collector forum the evening before the launch ceremony as has been customary at previous launches.
The reverse of the 2020 National Park of American Samoa quarter dollar depicts a Samoan fruit bat mother hanging in a tree with her pup, evoking the remarkable care and energy that this species puts into their offspring. The design is intended to promote awareness of the species’ threatened status due to habitat loss and commercial hunting.
The reverse design was executed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Richard Masters and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill.
The National Bank of American Samoa quarter dollar is the 51st of 56 to be issued under the America the Beautiful quarters program.
The coin was released into general circulation through the Federal Reserve on Feb. 3.
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