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HomeUS CoinsUnited States 2016 National Park Service Centennial Commemorative $1 Silver Coin

United States 2016 National Park Service Centennial Commemorative $1 Silver Coin

obverse, United States 2016 National Park Service Centennial Commemorative $1 silver coin


The National Park Service Centennial $1 silver coin honors the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS). Signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916, the National Park Service is a federal organization that oversees the operation and maintenance of many public parks throughout the United States. When An Act To Establish A National Park Service, also known as the Organic Act, was passed in 1916, the National Park Service oversaw 35 parks and landmarks, including Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is one of the nation’s oldest, having been declared a “public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” by Congress in 1872 and placed “under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior.”

Over the course of one hundred years, the National Park Service has grown to incorporate more than 400 sites, include more than 20,000 employees and volunteers, and encompasses some 84 million acres across all 50 states. The Park Service hosts millions of visitors each year and provides an array of educational programs for individuals of all ages. The significance of the National Park Service and its contributions to enriching the public warranted a series of commemorative coins celebrating the centennial of this beloved organization.

Congress passed The 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service Act (Public Law 113-291) in the spring of 2014 and President Barack Obama signed it into law on December 19 of that year. The bill authorizes the production of a commemorative half dollar, silver dollar, and $5 gold coin. Specifically, the bill permits a total mintage of 500,000 silver dollars across all finishes.

Proof specimens of the National Park Service Centennial silver dollar are also included (along with the proof clad half dollar and $5 gold coin) in a three-coin proof set.


The National Park Service Centennial 2016 Silver Dollar obverse features an image of a bison standing before the Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park. “LIBERTY” spreads across the top center of the obverse along the rim, while “IN GOD WE TRUST” and a “1916-2016” dual-dating feature flank the left and right sides of the Old Faithful element, respectively; the coin’s “P” mintmark symbolic of the Philadelphia Mint sits under the dual-date element. The words “NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CENTENNIAL” sprawls under the design along the bottom rim.

Joseph Menna designed and sculpted the obverse; his initials are located at the base of the geyser, on the right.

reverse, United States 2016 National Park Service Centennial Commemorative $1 silver coin


The reverse exhibits the right-facing side-profile of a Latina Folklórico dancer rising above the viewer on the left side of the silver dollar, her right arm outstretched across the right obverse field. She bears a banner with the inscription “HERITAGE * CULTURE * PRIDE” and the National Park Service logo is emblazoned upon her decorative dress. A numerical declaration of the coin’s face value, “$1,” is seen on the bottom right side of the obverse, while the inscriptions “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” anchor the top-right side of the obverse field along the rim.

Chris Costello designed the reverse; his initials are near the bottom of the NPS logo. Jim Licaretz sculpted the design; his initials are found near the hem of the dancer’s dress, close to the “$1”.


The edge of the 2016 National Park Service Centennial Commemorative $1 Silver Coin is reeded.


Reaction to the dollar coin’s reverse has been mixed, with some collectors wondering what a dancer–especially one of Latin heritage–has to do with either national parks or the Park Service. According to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) during meetings to choose designs for the commemorative program, the dancer is meant to show that the NPS manages a wide variety of culturally and historically significant properties in addition to the natural resources it conserves.


United States Mint sculptor-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).

Chris Costello is a U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist and designer currently working with the U.S. Mint.

Sculptor-engraver Jim Licaretz is a former president of the American Medallic Sculpture Association and has seen a number of his designs appear on U.S. coins and medals (View Designer’s Profile).

Coin Specifications:

Country:  United States
Year Of Issue:  2016
Denomination:  $1
Mint Mark: P (Philadelphia)
Mintage:  500,000
Alloy:  90% Silver, 10% Copper
Weight:  26.730 g
Diameter:  38.1 mm
Edge:  Reeded
OBV Designer  Joseph Menna
REV Designer  Chris Costello/Jim Licaretz
Quality:  Proof, Uncirculated

Keep up with all the latest coin releases from the United States Mint by clicking on CoinWeek’s Modern U.S. Coin Profiles Page.

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  1. Thanks for including the “controversy” section. I think the fact that the coin collecting community tended to generally disapprove of this design is something we should certainly keep in the forefront — CCAC needs to understand why coin collectors might think this design is unrepresentative of the NPS. I find “the dancer is meant to show that the NPS manages a wide variety of culturally and historically significant properties” DOES NOT speak to a design that truly represents the National Park service. I think the half-dollar’s reverse with the NPS logo would have been much more appropriate on the silver dollar! The silver provides the largest “canvas” and needs to showcase a design wholly representative of the commemoration.

    I think the collecting community certainly has some insight into what does and does not make a good design. Does it come across as a simple and elegant symbol of the commemoration topic? Is it a bold and timeless design? Or does it seem a cobbled together story board of elements (e.g., Mark Twain silver dollar)?

    Personally, I found it really offensive to the diversity of the entire National Park System to include old faithful on a second silver dollar! We already have the 1999 Yellowstone dollar with this geyser featured on the obverse. So, of all the possible natural features to use in order to represent the Park Service, they choose a feature that has already been used before?! I found this to come of as simply lazy on the part of the US Mint! How about a redwood forest, or a waterfall, or a river and mountains? So many National Parks from which to inspire a design, and yet they choose a repeat of ‘old faithful’!

    Back in January, I emailed Mary Lannin, chair of the CCAC, and she provided this response,
    “As the legislation directs, the Mint consults and is obligated to render designs according to the themes adopted by the National Park Service and it’s foundation. The CCAC, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Mint, and the Secretary must obviously allow a great deal of difference to the wishes of the recipient organizations. The CCAC makes every effort to offer advice and counsel all recipient organizations about the coinability, historic value, and the art on a coin. The Secretary has a number of issues to balance and after considering our counsel made the decision. One that the CCAC supports.”

  2. I agree, the use of Old Faithful is redundant on a commemorative. Like buildings, the geyser does not translate well to coinage, and at first glance appears to be something ghostly. Too often it seems, the Mint saves the best designs for $5 gold pieces. I have purchased the half dollar, but will wait until the final sales are in ( I go for the low unc’s) to buy a silver dollar.


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