It's been a while since we covered a U.S. Mint coin launch ceremony. I've seen fewer accounts popping up in the popular press. With so many new coins and so many ceremonies, the novelty factor wore off years ago. But they remain an important part of American numismatic history, happening only once in a coin's history. In an article in the March 18, 2013 Coin World, Dave Bowers documented the recent launch ceremony for New Hampshire’s 2013 White Mountain National Forest quarter. Be sure to read the whole article online - here's an excerpt.
The Feb. 21 launch ceremony for New Hampshire’s 2013 quarter dollar was held at a site beloved by the state’s inhabitants — White Mountain National Forest.
The launch ceremony was held at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, N.H., in the heart of the White Mountains, eight miles from Campton, a small town where the White Mountain National Forest headquarters is located. The venue was Hanaway Hall.
As is Mint policy, the staff of the national forest was called upon to make arrangements with local and regional people to attend, including schoolchildren. It was more of a White Mountain National Forest event than a U.S. Mint event. It, like other launches, was truly “down home.”
Mint staffers conducted a coin forum in Campton the previous evening, with general discussions. Eighteen people were on hand. I was not able to attend.
I left Wolfeboro, N.H., at 8:45 on Thursday morning, Feb. 21, taking David Owen, our town manager, along for the ride. In about an hour we arrived at the university and went to Hanaway Hall, where most of the seats were already filled — with hundreds of eager elementary schoolchildren from the area.
The Mint had reserved seats for us in the front row, and we sat with David Sundman, who was on hand to represent Littleton Coin Co. Dave Owen was glad to meet Dave Sundman (lots of Daves here!) as he has been a Littleton client for many years.
Members of the Nashua (N.H.) Coin Club were also in attendance — the “numismatic delegation,” so to speak.
Everyone was set to witness a historic event. Children are, of course, the building blocks of the future and Mint ceremonies typically include them. However, unlike the 2000 State quarter launch in New Hampshire in which the number of children participating was rather modest, now they nearly filled an entire auditorium.
On the stage at one side was the Plymouth Elementary School Band, which began the program with a selection of music. On the other side of the stage were the fourth graders from the Campton Elementary School, who led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem.
Local politicians and Acting Mint Director Richard Peterson spoke to the crowd. Rolls of the new coins were offered for sale by a local bank. Here's Dave's description of the coins themselves.
Selected for depiction by designer Phebe Hemphill was Mount Chocorua, located in the town of Tamworth, rising above Lake Chocorua in a picturesque setting. With its rocky outcrop on top and distinct appearance, the mountain has been a favorite for artists, photographers and hikers for a long time. It is well memorialized in White Mountain art — a genre somewhat related to the Hudson River School — nice depictions of landscapes with luminescent aspects. In the early 20th century, a two-story Peak House hotel rested on the slopes of Mount Chocorua, but it blew down in a terrific windstorm in 1917 and was never replaced.
Hemphill and the other artists who submitted designs were not given a direction but were shown many examples of White Mountain art from which they could select favorites. Everyone agrees that Chocorua was a great choice.
So when will Congress get around to approving a new Director of the Mint? It's been two years since Ed Moy resigned. Since the last Congress didn't act on the President's nomination of Bibiana Boerio, I think the ball is actually back in the White House's court.
To read the complete article, see:
New Hampshire quarter launch kicks off 2013 coin program
Wayne Homren, Editor
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