In addition to preparing for several new product launches this week, the United States Mint on Monday announced the designs for the upcoming 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins — their release dates have yet to be published.
This year’s one-half ounce, 24-karat gold coins will honor and feature Alice Paul and the suffrage movement, Frances Cleveland (first term), Caroline Harrison and Frances Cleveland (second term).
These coins will be the twenty-second through twenty-fifth released in the spousal series which was introduced alongside the Presidential $1 Coins in 2007. They are companions to the 2012 Presidential $1 Coins honoring Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland (first term), Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland (second term).
The U.S. Mint will offer proof and uncirculated collector versions for a total of eight coins with each minted from 99.99% fine gold. The new designs will also be featured on 1-5/16 inch First Spouse bronze medals. Coin prices will depend on the prevailing market price of gold during the time of their release, but the First Spouse Medals prices are known and will be $7.95 each.
Common design elements on the obverse of each spousal coin are inscriptions of IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY, 2012, and the name of the person honored. Common reverse inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, $10, 1/2 OZ, and .9999 FINE GOLD.
Alice Paul and the Suffrage Movement Gold Coin Designs
Whenever possible, First Spouse Gold Coins celebrate the wives of former Presidents as mandated by Public Law 109-135. In instances where a President served without a spouse, the law — with one exception — requires an image of Liberty featured on a coin of the era. The one exception is Alice Paul’s portrait which will appear on the very first 2012 coin.
"In the case of President Chester Alan Arthur, by a design incorporating the name and likeness of Alice Paul, a leading strategist in the suffrage movement, who was instrumental in gaining women the right to vote upon the adoption of the 19th amendment and thus the ability to participate in the election of future Presidents, and who was born on January 11, 1885, during the term of President Arthur," Public Law 109-135 states.
The obverse portrait of Alice Paul was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. Unique inscriptions include ALICE PAUL and SUFFRAGE.
The reverse design depicts a participant marching in a suffrage parade, holding a flag and wearing the banner that reads "Votes for Women." It was created and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.
Frances Cleveland (First Term) First Spouse Gold Coin Designs
Joel Iskowitz designed the obverse portrait that is seen on the first term Frances Cleveland First Spouse Gold Coins. Inscriptions include FRANCES CLEVELAND, 22nd, and 1886-1889. It was sculpted by Don Everhart.
The reverse design depicts the working women’s receptions that Mrs. Cleveland often held at the White House. Barbara Fox is the coin’s designer. Michael Gaudioso is credited for the sculpting.
Caroline Harrison First Spouse Gold Coin Designs
Obverses of Caroline Harrison First Spouse Gold Coins were designed by Frank Morris and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso. Inscriptions include CAROLINE HARRISON, 23rd, and 1889-1892.
The reverses represent Mrs. Harrison’s love of flowers as it depicts an orchid and paint brushes. The design is by Donna Weaver with sculpting by Charles Vickers.
Frances Cleveland (Second Term) First Spouse Gold Coin Designs
Barbara Fox designed the portrait seen on the obverse of the second term gold coins for Frances Cleveland. Inscriptions include FRANCES CLEVELAND, 24th, and 1892-1897. This obverse was sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.
Both designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna, the reverse depicts an event emblematic of Mrs. Cleveland’s popularity with the public.