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Explore the History of Holiday Coins!

The holidays are full of a variety of gift-giving traditions. Did you know that many of these traditions, like stocking stuffing and gelt giving, involve coins? In honor of the holiday season, check out our Winter Holiday page about the history of holiday coins.

lessons that make cents - cartoon badger with magnifying glass and a word search in the background

Try Your Hand at Our Holiday-Themed Word Quest

Can’t get enough of the holiday cheer? Check out our new holiday-themed Word Quest game. Find key terms related to holiday traditions from around the world.


Coin of the Month

2018 Block Island National Wildlife Refuge Quarter

block island quarter reverse with obverse below

Since 2010, the Mint began issuing 56 quarter-dollar coins featuring designs depicting national parks and other national sites as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge Quarter is the final America the Beautiful Quarter to be released in 2018.

Established in 1973, the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, located 12 miles off the southern coast of Rhode Island, is a critical migratory bird stopover point on the Atlantic Coast.

Fast Facts:

  • The reverse design (tails side) depicts a black-crowned night-heron flying over the beach at Cow Cove looking towards Sandy Point. The North Light lighthouse is seen in the background.
  • The coin’s obverse (heads side) features the portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan, used on the quarter-dollar coin since 1932.
  • The coin was designed by Chris Costello and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.

Creating the Coin

Watch this video to learn how Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill sculpted the 2018 Block Island National Wildlife Refuge coin, the final release of the 2018 America the Beautiful Quarters collection.

Lessons That Make Cents - colored block island quarter line drawing

America the Beautiful Coin Coloring Pages

Print and color your own coins with the new Coloring Pages, including the newest 2018 Block Island National Wildlife Refuge quarter. Make sure to check out all the other hands-on activities on the Games page.

Holiday Lesson Plans

Holidays are about family and cultural traditions passed down from generation to generation. Teach your students about the importance of traditions with the following lesson plans:

Trading Traditions (Grades 2-3)
Students will identify the purpose and duties of an orator, then identify and share personal family traditions.

History in Pictures (Grade 6)
Students will be able to understand history using a variety of methods and sources such as interpreting diaries and letters and reading maps. Students will understand ways in which cultural characteristics have been communicated from one society to another through art, language, traditions, beliefs and values.

A World of Money (Grades 9-12)
Students explore global traditions related to national currencies, its role in shaping identity, and how identity influences the design of world currency. They will evaluate the role currency plays in shaping a national or regional identity. They will discuss and predict how regional, cultural, and national identity influences the designers of world currency.

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