US Coins

Launch ceremony for Frederick Douglass quarter dollar

Passing showers didn’t dampen the spirits April 4 of some 300 people who attended the U.S. Mint’s official launch ceremony in Washington, D.C., for the 2017 Frederick Douglass National Historic Site quarter dollar.

Attendees included 75 local schoolchildren, each of whom was given a free Uncirculated circulation-quality example of the new quarter dollar.

The 2017 Frederick Douglass National Historic Site was released into general circulation through the Federal Reserve on April 3.

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Participants in the April 4 coin launch ceremony included Dave Motl, acting principal deputy director of the U.S. Mint; Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Superintendent Tara D. Morrison; National Park Service Acting Director Michael Reynolds; and Thomas R. Hipschen, the U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist and former Bureau of Engraving and Printing engraver who designed the reverse for the Frederick Douglass quarter dollar.

Hipschen’s design was sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Phebe Hemphill.

Also participating were Maryland area homeschooled students Gabrielle Sutherland and Silas Montgomery, winners in the 2016 Frederick Douglass Oratorical Contest, who delivered recitations of Frederick Douglass speeches.

Motl provided remarks on Douglass’ contributions to American history.

“Even at a young age, Frederick Douglass realized the value of literacy and the power of knowledge,” said David Motl. “This new coin honors one of the most influential African-American leaders of the 19th century, whose brilliant words will continue to inspire us for generations to come.

“My favorite among the many great quotes of Frederick Douglass is ‘man’s greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.’ ”

Following the ceremony, participants exchanged cash for $11,000 face value of 2017-P Frederick Douglass National Historic Site quarter dollars offered in 40-coin, $10 rolls. Industrial Bank sponsored the coin exchange.

Hipschen autographed many paper-wrapped coin rolls for attendees.

A coin forum was held the afternoon of April 3 at U.S. Mint headquarters, where attendees could provide input on U.S. coin programs and receive feedback from Mint officials.

The quarter dollar is the 37th of 56 to be issued under the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

The program calls for one coin to be issued showcasing a national park or historic site in each of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories: The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 

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