If you've seen the new U.S. quarter, you may have wondered the same thing I did the first time I saw it -- "why the heck are there bats on it?"

The U.S. Mint released its first of a series of new quarter designs back in February. I only just saw it for the first time this week after a listener texted in a photo of it asking "Have you guys seen the new 2020 quarter?" As you can see below, it features what looks like a mother bat with its baby and the words "American Samoa" and "National Park" around the outside.

Julie / jakc148.jc

A quick Google search quickly provided some answers. According to the United States Mint, the quarter is the first new quarter of 2020 and the 51st release of the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. It features the Samoan fruit bat in honor of the American Samoa National Park in Utulei, American Samoa. American Samoa, located in the South Pacific Ocean, is one of the United States' five major territories including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The National Park of American Samoa is the only park in the United States that is home to the Samoan fruit bat, says the U.S. Mint. The bat's feature on the new quarter is designed to promote awareness to the species' threatened status.

In a video shared by the U.S. Mint, U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill further explains the new quarter's design:

American Samoa features a mother fruit bat and her little baby. It was a very interesting coin to sculpt, and this is the first time a bat has been featured on a U.S. coin.

Hemphill also explains how she used a digital program to sculpt the coin's design and what she enjoyed most about the bat detail in the video below.

The Weir Farm National Historic Site Quarter is the next quarter in the America the Beautiful series and was released on April 6 of this year; the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve Quarter will be the next to release on June 1, 2020. See the full list of upcoming quarters here.

Have you seen the American Samoa National Park quarter in Central Minnesota yet?

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