The America the Beautiful Quarters Program debuted on the heels of the 50 State Quarters Program and its adjunct District of Columbia and Territories program.
Authorized by Public Law 110–456 (source: PDF), the America the Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, called for the “issuance of redesigned quarters dollars emblematic of national parks or other national sites in each state, the District of Columbia, and each territory.
Similar to the issuance order of the 50 State Quarters Program, America the Beautiful National Parks quarters are issued one per state, based on the order in which the selected site was first established as a National Park.
The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Quarter, representing Kentucky, is the second issue of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program for 2016 and the 32nd issue in the entire series.
A modern reworking of John Flanagan’s Washington quarter design. Washington’s left-facing bust sits in the center of the coin. Flanagan’s initials “JF” is visible in the bust truncation. Wrapping around the top of the coin is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. To Washington’s left is the inscription LIBERTY. To his right, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The coin’s denomination wraps around the bottom of the coin, written as QUARTER DOLLAR.
The reverse features a frontiersman of the late 18th to mid-19th centuries dressed in fringed leather garb and a low-brimmed hat. A pouch hangs from his shoulder, as does a powder horn for the rifle he holds in his left hand. The frontiersman, who takes up the right half of the central design area, looks towards a plainly-rendered portrait of a gap between what are presumably mountains.
Above the gap, filling up much of the left half of the design area, is the inscription FIRST DOORWAY TO THE WEST. This refers to the historic role the Cumberland Gap played in the settlement of the original American frontier–and by extension the rest of what would become the United States of America as the Union expanded to the Pacific Ocean. Officially “discovered” by Daniel Boone in 1775, the Cumberland Gap was but one of the many landmarks on the pathways known to Native Americans before the arrival of English settlers.
The inscription CUMBERLAND GAP is found at the top of the reverse, while KENTUCKY, 2016, and E PLURIBUS UNUM are cradled at the bottom.
Artistic Infusion Program artist Barbara Fox designed the reverse; her initials BF are on the left directly under the butt of the rifle. Sculptor Joseph Menna engraved the design – his initials JFM are found on the frontiersman’s pouch.
Designer(s): American sculptor John Flanagan’s work in the medallic and metal arts ranks him as one of the best artists of his generation. For generations of coin collectors, he is best known for his Washington quarter design. View Designer’s Profile. United States Mint engraver Joseph Menna has more than three dozen coin and medal designs to his credit since joining the Mint in 2005 (View Designer’s Profile). Before joining the United States Mint, engraver Barbara Fox worked as a commercial artist (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:
|P, D, S (Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco)
|91.67% Copper, 8.33% Nickel (business strike, clad proof); .900 Silver (silver proof)
|5.67 grams (Cu-Ni), 6.25 grams (.900 silver)
|0.955 in. (24.3 mm)
|Barbara Fox/Joseph Menna
|Uncirculated & Proof
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