US Coins

U.S. Mint launches Block Island quarter dollar

With a winter storm developing outside the tent Nov. 15 in Rhode Island for the launch of the 2018 Block Island National Wildlife Refuge quarter dollar, 325 people, including 100 schoolchildren, braved the elements to take part in the U.S. Mint’s official ceremony.

The event was held at the refuge in Charlestown, Rhode Island. The night before, 35 members of the public attended a coin forum at the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to hear about upcoming U.S. Mint programs and exchange ideas and concerns with U.S. Mint officials.

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U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder at the Nov. 15 ceremony remarked:  “Coins are symbols of our past, our present, and our future. This new coin will stand as a tribute to the National Wildlife Refuge — a safe haven for migratory creatures and a testament to what dedicated humans can do to protect our world.”

Ryder shared the stage with James Kurth, deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Janet Coit, director of the Department of Environmental Management, who spoke on behalf of Gov. Gina Raimondo; and Charlie Vandemoer, manager for the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge, which oversees the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Chris Costello, the U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion program artist who designed the coin’s reverse, was recognized for his artistry.

Following the ceremony, Ryder helped distribute individual Uncirculated 2018-P Block Island National Wildlife Refuge quarter dollars free to the youths in attendance.

Additionally, Washington Trust Bank sponsored a coin exchange, during which $12,000 in cash was exchanged for $10 face value rolls of Uncirculated circulation-quality quarter dollars struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

Costello’s design, which was sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill, depicts a black-crowned night-heron flying above a view from the beach at Cow Cove, looking toward Sandy Point. The North Lighthouse is seen in the background.

The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge coin was released into general circulation through the Federal Reserve on Nov. 13, the same day the Mint began offering the coins in bags and rolls as numismatic products, priced above face value.

The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge quarter is the 45th release in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

The 56-coin program, authorized by Public Law 110-456, is scheduled to conclude in 2021 with the release of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site quarter dollar. 

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