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 Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) Quarter–and yes, that’s its name–represents South Carolina. It is the fifth and last issue of 2016, and the 35th release overall.
Construction began on Fort Moultrie in 1776, to protect the city of Charleston from the British during the American Revolution, and the first British attack on the fort came before it was even finished. Originally named Fort Sullivan, the structure was named Fort Moultrie in honor of Colonel William Moultrie, who, as commander of the South Carolina forces that day, successfully defended the fort and forced the British to withdraw.
The event is celebrated every year on June 28 as “Carolina Day”.
Over the next several decades, Fort Moultrie was rebuilt multiple times. Other forts were built as well, as part of an improved system of coastal defenses. This included Fort Sumter, the construction of which was started in 1829 and remained incomplete by the time of the American Civil War.
Most people who hear about the Fort Moultrie / Fort Sumter quarter are more familiar with Fort Sumter. That’s because it is the site of the first shots fired in the Civil War on April 12-13, 1861. After South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860, the commander of Fort Moultrie moved his troops to the more formidable Fort Sumter, where they unsuccessfully defended the fort against the traitorous South Carolina artillery.
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 of the Fort Moultrie America the Beautiful quarter features what is arguably one of the most action-packed and visually dynamic coin designs of the entire series.
The soldier at the heart of it all is Sergeant William Jasper, a hero of the British attack on June 28, 1776. The pose full of potential energy and the blocky mass of his body resemble nothing so much as the work of comic book great Jack Kirby. Jasper is portrayed returning the flag of the 2nd South Carolina regiment to the ramparts of the fort, the act for which he is best known.
The flag, tattered but still waving, features a crescent moon in the upper left corner, similar to the crescent found on Sgt. Jasper’s hat. This is the “Moultrie flag” (or Liberty flag) of the 2nd regiment, which gets its name from Col. Moultrie, who designed it himself. It is the ancestor of the current flag of South Carolina.
Meanwhile, two primitively rendered British warships sit amidst a large cloud of smoke (implying heavy cannon fire) on the edge of the almost brutally choppy water. Part of the wooden structure of the fort marks the boundary between the Atlantic waters and the surprisingly variegated ground upon which Sgt. Jasper stands; this is notable because the original fort was built out of palmetto, the state symbol.
The emptiness of the field behind the design is utilized to great effect both aesthetically and emotionally, providing depth and counterbalance to the composition.
The inscription FORT MOULTRIE lies above the depicted action, while SOUTH CAROLINA, 2016, and E PLURIBUS UNUM cradle the bottom of the scene from left to right.
Classically trained artist Richard T. Scott designed the reverse; his initials RS are found on the ground to the viewer’s left of Sgt. Jasper’s feet. United States Mint sculptor-engraver Joseph Menna engraved the coin; his initials JFM are found on the ground to the viewer’s right.
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)
|Year Of Issue:
|P, D, S (Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco)
|91.67% Copper, 8.33% Nickel (business strike, clad proof)
|5.67 grams (Cu-Ni)
|0.955 in. (24.3 mm)
|Richard Scott / Joseph Menna