New coin celebrates Minnesota’s northwoods National Park

Reverse side of new Voyageurs National Park quarter from the U.S. Mint.
Reverse side of new Voyageurs National Park quarter from the U.S. Mint.

The U.S. Mint will issue a new quarter in its America the Beautiful series next week, this one celebrating Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota.

The currency’s reverse side features an iconic Border Country scene: a loon on a lake in the foreground and pine trees and rock in the background, as well as the words “Voyageurs” and “Minnesota.” It was developed in consultation with Voyageurs’ staff.

Patricia Lucas-Morris designed the coin, which was engraved by Joseph Menna. It was minted in Denver and Philadelphia.

“[The] coin was a really big challenge because it had to present a loon, in front of a landscape, in water and with markings on the bird’s body,” Menna said in this brief video interview. “You know, to make that wake look real, that was a challenge. It was fun to sculpt.”

As part of the launch, the Mint has also developed curriculum guides for teachers featuring Voyageurs (and other parks). For kindergarten and first grade, there is a unit called “Let’s Save the Loons,” and for grade seven and eight, there is “Amazing Auroras.”

Launch ceremony June 14

The coin will be released into circulation on Monday, June 11. A launch ceremony will be held at the Irvin Anderson Amphitheater in International Falls on June 14. The ceremony is free and open to the public, and all children under age 18 will receive a quarter.

Guest speakers from the U.S. Mint, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Voyageurs National Park, and more will address the audience, and International Falls native Gavia Yount will perform the National Anthem. Several local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops will participate, as well a VFW Color Guard.

After the event, attendees can acquire rolls of the quarter at a coin exchange conducted by TruStar Federal Credit Union of International Falls. The exchange is cash only with a minimum of one roll ($10) and a maximum of 10 rolls ($100).

There will also be live music and National Park Service activities, including a voyageur encampment, museum tours, showing of the park film, and a photo booth from Voyageurs National Park Association.

Bags and rolls of the coins will also be available for purchase on the U.S. Mint’s website starting at 11 a.m. Central Time on June 11.

The America the Beautiful series was launched in 2010, based on legislation passed by Congress in 2008. The Voyageurs quarter is the 43rd of 56 planned coins depicting National Parks and similar sites. Five new coins are being launched each year, in sequence of when the subject site was designated. (Voyageurs was created in 1971.)

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