The 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins will be released by the United States Mint as the sixth year for a series of 24-karat gold strikes honoring the spouses of the former Presidents of the United States of America.
2012 will have four First Spouse coins issued:
- Alice Paul Gold Coins, representative of the tenure of Chester A. Arthur
- Frances Cleveland Gold Coins, first strike honoring the wife of Grover Cleveland marking his first administration
- Caroline Harrison Gold Coins, honoring the wife of Benjamin Harrison
- Frances Cleveland Gold Coins, second strike honoring the wife of Grover Cleveland marking his second administration
As indicated by the list above, Frances Cleveland will be featured on two different coins in the series. That is because her husband, Grover Cleveland was the 22nd President of the United States from March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1897. He was then elected to a second non-consecutive term from March 4, 1885 – March 4, 1889.
Each coin in the series is struck from one half ounce of .9999 fine gold at the US Mint’s West Point facility. The Mint strikes these coins to both proof and uncirculated condition.
The First Spouse Gold Coins debuted in 2007 after being authorized as part of the much larger Presidential $1 Coin Act (Public Law 109-145). This act also authorized a series of circulating Presidential $1 Coins honoring the former Presidents themselves in the order upon which they served. These spouse coins are released on a schedule tied to those Presidential strikes.
Congress made allowances for instances when a President had more than one wife while in office as well as for when a President had no wife while serving. In the instance of the former, each wife will be honored on a separate coin. For the latter, typically the image of the mythical figure of Liberty will be used.
The one exception to that standard was also dictated by the authorizing law and calls for the Spouse Coin tied to the Presidency of Chester A. Arthur to feature the likeness of Alice Paul instead. Paul was a leader in the suffragist movement and was born on January 11, 1885 during the administration of President Arthur.