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U.S. Mint Begins Producing Great Sand Dunes Quarter

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DENVER (CBS) - At the U.S. Mint in Denver, 750 quarters are minted per machine every minute. Starting this week, some of those newly minted quarters will feature Colorado for the second time.

For the latest quarter in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, the Great Sand Dunes National Park will be featured. Back in 2006 Colorado was featured as part of the U.S. mint’s State Quarter Program.

The Great Sand Dunes quarter, which was created by Don Everhart, features a father and son playing in the sand next to the creek bed with the distinctive sand dunes and mountains featured in the background. This scene is printed on the tail side of the coin with the familiar image of George Washington minted on the heads side.

Originally created as Great Sand Dunes National Monument on March 17, 1932, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve was established by an act of the U.S. Congress on Sept. 13, 2004.

Launched in 2010, the America the Beautiful Quarters Program is a multi-year initiative that will honor 56 national parks and other national sites located in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

The Great Sand Dunes quarter is the fourth release of the program this year and 24th release overall. 2014 marks the fifth year of the program which is scheduled to end in 2021. Since the start of the program five quarters will be released each year until 2021, which will see only one quarter release.

The official launch for the new quarter will take place at the Great Sand Dunes National Park Thursday, Sept. 4, starting at 10 a.m. In honor of the new quarter launch, park fees will be waived for the day. The general public is welcome to attend as well as school groups. Students who attend the event will receive one of the new quarters as a souvenir.

For more information regarding the U.S. Mint America the Beautiful Program, visit www.usmint.gov. For information on the Great Sand Dunes National Park, visit www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm.

- Written by Lindsey Unhock for CBSDenver.com

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