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Coin of the Month

Yellowstone National Park Quarter

The second quarter in the America the Beautiful Quarters® series, my pick for Coin of the Month of June, honors Yellowstone National Park, located mostly in Wyoming.  Now, you may wonder why the park known as "America's first national park" is the second quarter in the series, since the parks are presented in the order they were established.  There's a good reason for that.

Yellowstone was established in 1872 as a national park, the first in the country and the world.  Although Hot Springs National Park already existed since 1832, it was still known as Hot Springs Reservation, its original name, until 1921.  So Hot Springs is an older national site, but Yellowstone is the first site called a national park from its beginning.

Yellowstone's quarter design features a geyser, an amazing natural wonder.  It also features a bison, one of the many kinds of animals that live in the park.  Now here's a question for you:  does a bison have horns or antlers?  What's the difference between them?

Well, Yellowstone's Web site has a sheet under "publications" (called "Horns or Antlers?") that explains.

  • Horns are permanent and grow with the animal while antlers fall off every spring and regrow during the rest of the year.
  • Horns have no branches while antlers do (in adults).
  • Horns are made of a material that's like hair or hide, while antlers are made of bone.
  • Horns grow on both males and females while antlers grow on males only.
  • Bison, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelopes have horns, while elk, mule deer, and moose have antlers.

Find out more about Yellowstone's animals and geology on the Yellowstone National Park quarter page.


Image shows the back of the Yellowstone quarter.
Reverse:  A bison stands before a geyser, surrounded by the inscriptions "Yellowstone," "Wyoming," "E Pluribus Unum," and "2010."

Image shows the front of the quarter-dollar coin.
Obverse:  George Washington's profile is surrounded by the inscriptions "United States of America," "Liberty," "In God We Trust," a mint mark, and "Quarter Dollar."

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