In a preview of what is sure to be a diverse range of events and promotions next year celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the U.S. Mint on Thursday released designs for three new coins, including one featuring Yellowstone National Park.
The commemorative coin designs were showed off at a Washington, D.C. ceremony at the Department of Interior attended by Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios.
Designed to help fund more than 400 national park units around the country, the coins will be marketed to collectors and park supporters willing to pay a premium for them. Proceeds go to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.
“When fully realized, the potential impact derived from the commemorative coin sales will be tremendous,” National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth said in a statement released by the U.S. Mint. “The funds will improve trails, introduce more young people to the parks and connect our citizens to the history and culture of our nation.”
The coins will be offered in three denominations: a $5 gold coin features John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, with Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome in the background; a $1 silver coin shows a Yellowstone bison in front of Old Faithful geyser; and a half-dollar coin depicts a hiker in the wilderness.
The Yellowstone coin resembles—but is not identical to—a 2010 commemorative quarter that also showed a bison and Old Faithful. A few of those Yellowstone quarters show up from time to time in general circulation, much like commemorative coins honoring each of the 50 U.S. states.
The 2016 Park Service coins will be legal tender, but will contain very little precious metal. But don’t expect to get handed a Yellowstone buffalo dollar as change.
There is a $10 surcharge for each $1 Yellowstone coin sold. The $5 coin carries a $35 surcharge, and there’s a $5 surcharge for the half-dollar. The money raised from those fees will go to the National Park Foundation, where it will be allocated to projects and programs in parks around the country.
“The coins will be a fun centennial collectible, and the proceeds will contribute to our second century of service to the American people,” Jarvis said.
The U.S. Mint has not yet provided a release date or details on final pricing and availability for the coins.
Congress authorizes commemorative coins that celebrate and honor American people, places, events and institutions, with recent issues ranging from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the centennial of the Girl Scouts of America. Since 1982, the program has raised more than $500 million for public charities and the federal government.
Contact Ruffin Prevost at 307-213-9818 or [email protected].