The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Quarter represented the first release of the year and the twenty-first release overall for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The coins were officially released for general circulation on January 27, 2014.
The reverse design of the coin features a depiction of a historic log cabin found within the park, along with a segment of lush green forest and hawk circling above. The inscriptions read “Great Smoky Mountains”, the state location “Tennessee”, the date “2014”, and the motto “E Pluribus Unum”. The reverse was designed by Chris Costello and engraved by Renata Howard.
As with the other releases of the series, the obverse contains the original restored 1932 portrait of George Washington designed by John Flanagan. The inscriptions read “United States of America”, “Liberty”, “In God We Trust”, and “Quarter Dollar”.
In addition to the circulating versions of the coin struck at the Philadelphia and Denver Mint facilities, the United States Mint also produced numerous collectible versions of the coin. This included coins struck at the San Francisco Mint with a circulation finish, which were offered in bags and rolls, and proof coins, which were included in various annual sets.
The United States Mint also used the same design on five ounce silver bullion and collector coins. The bullion coins were sold through the Mint’s authorized purchaser network, while the collector coins were sold directly to consumers.
About Great Smoky Mountains National Park
It is no secret that National Parks are typically places of great historical and cultural significance, or great visual beauty and diversity. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is no exception. The mist covered mountains are some of the most lush and green in the entire world. The Smoky Mountains are thought to be the oldest mountains in the country, as scientists to believe their formation began around 300 billion years ago.
Unlike many other mountains ranges, the Great Smokies are situated along a vertical plain, meaning that the animals that lived on their slopes and valleys could migrate north or south depending on the climate changes. Because of its unique geographical orientation, the mountain range is home to an extremely diverse array of species. Researchers estimate that around ninety thousand distinct species of plants and animals make their homes within its borders.
Those who visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park are often surprised at the dense humidity and moisture that often characterize its climate. The forest floor is lush and thick with plant life, while the rivers, trees and soil soak up the moisture that comes from many days of rainfall throughout the year. In addition to being officially recognized as a protected area in 1926, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been named an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations.