Sunday, January 3, 2016

The New York National Park Quarter Dollar Commemorates the Battle of Saratoga

           Towards the end of 2015, the United States Mint issued the latest state Quarter Dollar in its National Park series.  New York’s National Park Quarter is particularly noteworthy. 

As one would expect, most national parks featured on the quarters in this series are ones that have been designated for their natural beauty or significance, but a few, such as Pennsylvania’s Gettysburg National Military Park, are preserved for their historical significance.  The Empire State’s National Park Quarter is an example of the latter.

The reverse of New York’s National Park Quarter features the Saratoga National Historic Park.  The park is the site of the main action of the Battle of Saratoga, which was the largest battle of the War of American Independence and the turning point of the Revolution.  The American victory at Saratoga induced the French to recognize the independence of the Thirteen American States and to make an alliance with them and declare war on the United Kingdom.  French assistance to the Americans was critical for them to win the Revolutionary War.   

The words “New York” and “Saratoga” on the quarter’s reverse indicate the state and park, respectively, but instead of a scene from the battlefield as it appears today, the device commemorates the outcome of the battle.  It features the arm of a fancily-attired British officer handing over his saber to a more plainly-clad American Continental soldier, which underscores the seemingly-improbably outcome of the war in which the unorganized and inexperienced Americans defeated the most professional and powerful armed forces in the world.  Underneath the device is the legend “British Surrender 1777.”  

It is hoped that the Mint’s National Park Quarter Dollar series will lead more Americans to visit these national parks and to conserve them and to learn more about them and, especially, about American history.  

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