Appearing as the second year for the US Mint series was the 2008 First Spouse Gold Coins. These strikes are each minted from 1/2 ounce of .9999 fine gold and feature designs emblematic of the spouses of the former Presidents of the United States.
The US Mint strikes each of these half ounce 24-karat First Spouse Coins at its facility in West Point to both proof and uncirculated condition. They feature a diameter of 1.043 inches and a thickness of 0.074 inches.
These strikes were authorized by Congress by the Presidential $1 Coin Act (Public Law 109-145) along with a series of circulating strikes honoring the Presidents. Both series are released at an approximate rate of four per year with the spouse coins issued the same year as their associated Presidential coin.
The authorizing act makes allowances for special situations in regards to presidential spouses. For instance, if the President served as commander-in-chief without a wife, than an image of Liberty taken from a circulating coin of their time will be shown instead on the associated coin. Conversely, if the President had more than one wife while in office, both will be featured on separate coins.
The United States Mint issued four different First Spouse Gold Coins in 2008 including:
- Elizabeth Monroe Gold Coins, honoring the wife of James Monroe
- Louisa Adams Gold Coins, honoring the wife of John Quincy Adams
- Jackson’s Liberty Gold Coins, representative of the tenure of Andrew Jackson
- Van Buren’s Liberty Gold Coins, representative of the tenure of Martin Van Buren.
Obverse designs of the coins contain a portrait of the honored individual, or an image of Liberty if no spouse served with the President as indicated on the above Jackson and Van Buren Liberty coins. The reverse shows either a scene from the life of the spouse, or in the case of the Liberty coins, a scene emblematic of the President themselves.