2012 First Spouse Gold Coins Delayed, US Mint Announces

by CoinNews.net on September 12, 2012 · 15 comments

Stating the obvious, there has been a delay in the release of the 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins. Normally by this time of year, three of the four one-half ounce, 24-karat gold coins would have been issued.

Line Art Designs of 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins

Line art designs of the 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins were released earlier this year

On Tuesday, September 11, 2012, the U.S. Mint published the following message on the home page of its online store, the First Spouse Gold Coin sales area and on its product schedule page:

Announcement: The United States Mint has encountered problems with producing some of the 2012-dated First Spouse Gold Coins. Once the problems are resolved and final trial strikes approved, the First Spouse Gold Coins will be struck at the United States Mint at West Point and bear the "W" mint mark. The West Point facility has production capacity to strike all four coins in proof and uncirculated qualities. As soon as we are certain the quality of these coins meets the standards you have come to expect, we will announce on-sale dates for each one. We apologize for the delay in releasing these coins.

Currently, just two First Spouse Gold Coins are for sale. Both are 2011-dated and proof versions. One honors Lucretia Garfield and the other celebrates Lucy Hayes.

2012 gold coins honor Alice Paul and the suffrage movement, Frances Cleveland (first term), Caroline Harrison and Frances Cleveland (second term). Their designs were first revealed back in April.

For reference, sales of the 2011-dated spousal coins follow.

Sales Figures for 2011 First Spouse Gold Coins

  Latest Sales Weekly Gains Mintages
2011 Eliza Johnson First Spouse Proof 3,907 NLA 6,812
2011 Eliza Johnson First Spouse Uncirculated 2,905 NLA
2011 Julia Grant First Spouse Proof 3,969 NLA 6,930
2011 Julia Grant First Spouse Uncirculated 2,961 NLA
2011 Lucy Hayes First Spouse Proof 3,522 25 5,810
2011 Lucy Hayes First Spouse Uncirculated 2,263 NLA
2011 Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Proof 3,161 44 5,703
2011 Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Uncirculated 2,498 NLA


NLA = No Longer Available. Sales figures are as of September 10, 2012.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Doubtful September 12, 2012 at 8:39 am

My guess is that the Government may not wish to part with their gold at the lower prices. Knowing ahead of time that the price is going to make a huge rise. Already, the three that should have been released will cost over $450.00 more than if they had been released on schedule. Audit our gold holdings…

jim September 12, 2012 at 10:57 am

So right, stating the obvious.
Once again poor management by deputy director Peterson and finally forced to communicate with the public. What problems? Bad blanks? Machine broke down? Haven’t they been producing first spouse coins since 2007? And now there are production problems? What does that say about the 2007-2011 coins?

A&L Futures September 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm

It’s simply a tactic by the U.S. Mint to cancel the First Spouse series.

RonnieBGood September 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm

With fresh price increases the mintages will continue to decline.

I do wonder if this series will continue to the end. There is still a long way to go.

george glazener September 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

My Lucy Hayes UNC is headed to the auction block tonight…!!
Starting Bid = $1,995.00.

jim September 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I’m beginning to wonder why we need uncirculated versions of coins (not just the spouse coins) these days when none of these will ever be touched by human hand outside their capsule. Maybe removing the uncirculated version will spur sales and keep the series going. Despite their unpopularity I might consider buying one if it’s mintage looked like it wasn’t going to get above 2,500. That makes it a pretty rare coin.

george glazener September 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm

“…As soon as we are certain the quality of these coins meets the standards you have come to expect….”

Oh for Christ’s sake. Just go ahead and start minting the damn things. Flaws and sub-par quality is EXACTLY what we’ve come to expect from the MINT these days. Give me a freakin’ break.

Springer September 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm

The Mint cannot cancel the series it is a law. Congress would have to cancel it and I don’t think that is going to happen. However, the Mint does not like making the coins because they sell so few, thus they have “problems” to move them into a tighter selling period say two or three months. How much of a pressure “problem” could you have with 24k pure gold? If they were making them out of steel, well I could see having filling issues. This is pure manipulation by the Mint, they would rather have no sales period for the 1st Spouse coins and if they can’t have that then reduce the period. How many of the 2011 coins were on sale for year? The Johnson and Grant, the Garfield and Hayes were much less than a year. They want to reduce down to say like the 30 days for the two coin Eagle set, so maybe they sell 1,000 coins of each and they are thru.

jim September 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm

From what I can tell from the law (Public Law 109-145), and I’m no lawyer, the spouse coins must follow their President, there’s no time frame that the spouse coins must be sold in and sales need end only when the whole series ends. Which implies that the mint can take orders for the spouse coins but delay delivery as long as they want, much as what they did with the S mint 2 coin sets.

The ploy of production problems is probably how deputy dir Peterson dealt with his ineptness as a manager when answering to the Director of the Mint. It’s probably the only way he knows how to deal with problems (evade, delay and don’t communicate). I’m guessing he sees his primary job function to be CYA and actual management of the mint and it’s programs as secondary or lower.

Joe September 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

President Bush singed the bill into public law in 2005, & end in 2016 with Pat Nixon. You have to be dead 2 years to be on the coin. Springer is right.

RonnieBGood September 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

You may be a bit early in selling your Gold Spouse but QE3 will send Gold prices to new highs sooner than later!

george glazener September 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Yep, you nailed it my man!
New starting bid = $2,995.00

jim September 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Is it NGC graded with the special black label?

george glazener September 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Nope, she’s sitting pretty in her OGP finery. Not a spec or a flaw to be seen. This time I got a perfect beauty

RonnieBGood September 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm

George – Best of Luck.
You have the lowest mintage of the Spouse series to date!!

Jim, Serious or not –
Coins eligible for the NGC Retro Holder:
•Silver Eagles
•Presidential Dollars
•Sacagawea Dollars

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