Today, the United States Mint announced the design selections for the 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins. This represents the sixth year for the one half ounce 24 karat gold coin series.
The four coins will be issued in relation to the 21st through 24th Presidencies, although not every coin will feature a First Lady. Alice Paul is recognized for her contribution to the suffrage movement, as provided under the authorizing legislation for the series. Her coin is issued for the Presidency of Chester Arthur, who served in office without a spouse. The remaining issues recognize Frances Cleveland on two separate coins, since her husband served two non-consecutive terms as President, and Caroline Harrison.
Initially, the United States Mint had prepared five to eight different obverse and reverse design candidates for each coin. These were reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, which provided their recommendations. (See all of the original design candidates.) The final design selections were made by the Secretary of the Treasury.
The gold coin honoring Alice Paul features a portrait on the obverse and a participant marching in the suffrage parade on the reverse. The obverse was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, while the reverse was designed and sculpted by Hemphill.
The Frances Cleveland First Spouse Gold Coin (first term) features a portrait of the First Lady on the obverse and a depiction of the working women’s receptions that Mrs. Cleveland held at the White House on the reverse. The obverse is designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart, and the reverse is designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso.
The Caroline Harrison First Spouse Gold Coin features a profile portrait of the First Lady on the obverse and a close-up of an orchid and paintbrushes on the reverse to represent Mrs. Harrison’s low of flowers. The obverse was designed by Frank Morris and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso. The reverse was designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Charles L. Vickers.
The second term Frances Cleveland First Spouse Coin features an alternate obverse portrait and a reverse design intended to be emblematic of Mrs. Cleveland’s popularity with the public. The obverse was designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, while the reverse was designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
The United States Mint has not yet announced the release dates or mintage limits for the 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins. The pricing will be based on the average weekly market price of gold and may fluctuate during the course of the offering. Bronze medals will also be offered featuring the same designs. these will be priced at $7.95 each.