The first coin in 2012 to appear as part of the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters® Program will be the 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter featuring El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. The quarter entered circulation beginning on January 23, 2012.
The program of America the Beautiful Quarters itself started in 2010 and features five new quarters a year, making this strike the eleventh in the series.
Five potential or candidate designs were created to represent the reverse of the El Yunque quarter. Two bodies responsible for making recommendations on their appearance (the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts) reviewed the candidates in late 2010. On December 8, 2011, the United States Mint published the line art image of the final design that was selected by the Treasury Secretary.
Designed by Gary Whitley and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso, the reverse features a Coqui tree frog sitting on a leaf and a Puerto Rican parrot behind an epiphyte plant with tropical flora in the background. Inscriptions include EL YUNQUE, PUERTO RICO, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The obverse of all the America the Beautiful Quarters feature the 1932 portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan. However, the image used was restored to “bring out subtle details and the subtle details and the beauty of the original model,” states the United States Mint. Obverse inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and QUARTER DOLLAR.