23 August 2019
The US Mint has announced the latest forthcoming release in its America the Beautiful quarters programme: a three-coin set dedicated to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
The new releases - a set of rolls and bags, a five-ounce silver uncirculated coin, and a three-coin set - showcase a tribute to the national park dedicated to preserving the stories of San Antonio’s Spanish Colonial-era Missions and their contributions to the people of southern Texas.
What were the San Antonio Missions?
The San Antonio Missions made up one of the largest concentrations of Spanish missions in North America during the 1700s and helped create the foundation for the city of San Antonio. The missions were built as walled compounds containing the church, living quarters, workshops, storerooms, and fortified towers.
The missions were built close together because of the natural resources found near the San Antonio River. Construction of aqueducts and irrigation canals (acequias) brought water to the missions, sustaining farming and ranching. The missions’ toolmaking, carpentry, looming, spinning, and masonry further contributed to the community’s ability to be self-sustaining.
The reverse (tails) design depicts elements of the Spanish Colonial Real coin to pay tribute to the missions. Within the quadrants are symbols of the missions: wheat symbolizes farming, the arches and bell symbolize community, a lion represents Spanish cultural heritage, and a symbol of the San Antonio River represents irrigation methods and life-sustaining resources.
Inscriptions are "SAN ANTONIO MISSIONS," "TEXAS," "2019," and "E PLURIBUS UNUM."
Chris Costello, the US Mint's Artistic Infusion Programme Designer, spoke of his pride in the designs: 'I'm a coin collector, so I thought this was particularly exciting because I do have some Spanish reales, some coinage from that period. So I came up with four different quadrants, and the cross in the middle. I wanted it to be very rustic-looking, almost authentic to the colonial coinage. And I thought it be just the coolest thing if these ever got selected and minted, just to hold a pile of modern-day pieces of eight in your hand ...'
To order the coins, visit the US Mint website.
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(images courtesy of the US Mint)