The Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter was the second release of the year for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. This coin, which features a site located in New Mexico, represented the twelfth release for the program overall.
The selection of the site was announced prior to the start of the new quarter series in late 2009. Under the authorizing legislation, the entire site register was required to be selected within nine months of enactment. In late 2010, the United States Mint released candidate designs for the image to appear on the reverse of the quarter. Each of the four designs depicted the remains of the ancient civilization that are preserved within the historical park.
On the reverse of the coin is a design providing a glimpse of the vastness of the site and the constructions which provide cultural significance. The image includes a view to the west of two elevated kivas and the north wall of the Chetro Ketl. The north wall of the canyon is also included. Inscriptions surround the image include “Chaco Culture”, “New Mexico”, “2012”, and “E Pluribus Unum”. The reverse was designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.
The obverse of the coin carries the common portrait of George Washington designed by John Flanagan that has been used throughout the broader program.
The mintage level for the Chaco Culture Quarter marked a new low amongst regular circulating quality issues of the series. The Philadelphia and Denver Mints each struck 22 million coins, for a combined total of just 44 million pieces. This represented a mere fraction of the mintage levels of the prior 50 State Quarters Program.
Numismatic products released by the United States Mint included circulating quality coins with the “P”, “D”, or “S” mint marks in bags and rolls. The same design was used for five ounce silver bullion and uncirculated coins. Finally, the quarters were included in various annual sets and products created for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.
About Chaco Culture National Historical Park
The continental United States is lucky to be home to the archeological remnants of several ancient civilizations, although there may not be any as beautiful and memorable as those that are found at Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
As early as 850 AD the Chaco area of New Mexico was the home of the Chacoan people and the center of excitement, trade, ceremony and administration for those that existed in the prehistoric area of the Four Corners. When you visit the Chaco Culture National History Park, you will be surprised to learn that the foundations of complicated public buildings that were built by the Chaco still remain to be seen today.
Without the sophisticated tools that we have today, the Chaco were able to devised architectural plans, organize labor to put the plans into action, and engineer support systems to keep their buildings standing strong. It was in the year 1907 that the federal government decided that this unique heritage was worth protecting and the declared that the area be known as Chaco Canyon National Monument.