Alley Spring Mill in Eminence, Mo., has been chosen to represent the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) on the “America the Beautiful” Quarter series, scheduled for release on Monday, June 5.

Missouri will be the 38th coin in the series, which is now in its eighth year.

“It all started about two years ago when they were in the selection process,” said Dena Matteson, chief of interpretation, planning, and partnerships with ONSR. 

The Ozark National Scenic Riverways was nominated to be featured as the 2017 quarter by the governor in 2008.

The “America the Beautiful” quarter series releases five quarters every year representing five different states, and there were several design options to choose from before officials decided on Alley Spring.

“Every state gets a quarter but they have to select a certain site for each state,” said Matteson, adding that there were eight designs to choose from.

Six of the eight designs were different pictures depicting Alley Mill, one was a canoeist paddling down the river, another featured a spiny softshell turtle looking above the water watching a kayaker passing, and the final design was a man canoeing down the river and approaching a group of wild horses drinking by the river’s edge.

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) chose the design featuring the turtle looking at the kayaker, but the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) chose the quarter that was selected to be released in June.

The different options for Missouri can be found at www.coinnews.net.

“When it got down to the final eight designs, they got input from us as a park as well as different coining agencies and then made their decision,” said Matteson.

Late fall of 2016 is when they notified Alley Spring that it had been chosen to represent the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

“This is very neat for us to be able to represent the ONSR and Missouri on a quarter, we are very excited,” said Matteson.

The first location the quarter will be available for purchase will be at a special unveiling event the park is holding on Monday, June 5.

“We are planning a special event with demonstrations from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and we’re also having a formal ceremony that starts at 11 a.m. to talk about the quarter,” said Matteson.

They are still working out the details but Tom Akers, an astronaut who lives in Eminence, will be the master of ceremonies. The U.S. Mint is also sending an official to the ceremony.

A local bluegrass group, The Baker Family, is scheduled to perform at the event as well.

“We really try to make a nice program for children and adults where they can learn in addition to just attending the event,” said Matteson.

At 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, the day before the big coin launch at Alley Spring, there will be a coin forum at Echo Bluff State Park in Eminence and representatives of the U.S. Mint will be talking about the Alley Mill quarter.

“The U.S. Mint has told me that they have a large group of coin collectors that come to events like these, so we are hoping to get some people that have never been here before,” said Matteson.

Missouri State Parks officials will also attend and plan to share what is going on with the parks system over the summer.

“Alley Spring is a popular site and a beautiful location, and I really think it’s possible that this quarter could bring people in or at least peak their curiosity about Alley Spring Mill,” said Matteson.

Matteson said the U.S. Mint will deliver 6,250 Alley Mill quarters for people to purchase beginning June 5. Buyers can purchase a minimum of one roll up to a maximum of 10 rolls at a cost of $10 each.

The quarters will be placed in general circulation around the country after being in production for 10 weeks.

By Mattie Link

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