The First Spouse Gold Coin program has been commemorating First Ladies of former U.S. Presidents since 2007 by featuring them on one-half ounce, 99.99% pure gold coins.
The final year of the program in 2016 will honor Pat Nixon and Betty Ford, the spouses of the 37th and 38th Presidents, Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford.
Twenty-seven design candidates for the coins were recently made public by the United States Mint and examined by the United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC).
Images of 2016 First Spouse Gold Coin Designs
The CFA reviewed the designs on Sept. 18, 2014, and the CCAC critiqued them on Sept. 23, 2014. Below are images of the candidate designs as well as the CFA and CCAC recommendations. Also included are narratives of each design as provided by the U.S. Mint.
Patricia Nixon First Spouse Gold Coin Designs
Seven different images for the obverse of the Patricia Nixon coins were submitted for review. Recommended Obverse: The CFA and the CCAC liked design #5.
Five design candidates were presented for the reverse. Recommended Reverse: The CCAC liked design #5 and the CFA preferred design #3, if it was refined. They cited "the area across the mid-ground of the design as a confusing and poorly rendered combination of design elements, particularly the White House awning and the figure of Mrs. Nixon."
FS-PN-R-01 – This design features a directional sign indicating the names of many of the places Mrs. Nixon visited during her time as First Spouse. She was the most traveled First Lady until Hillary Clinton.
FS-PN-R-02 – This design commemorates Mrs. Nixon’s dedication to service. The wheel of the wheelchair represents her efforts to make the White House more accessible to everyone. The open hand represents her commitment to volunteerism, lending a helping hand to the world, and welcoming people to the White House. The globe represents her distinction as the most traveled First Lady at the time and highlights South America, representing her trip to Peru following a devastating earthquake.
FS-PN-R-03 – Mrs. Nixon welcomes a person in a wheelchair to the White House, symbolizing her efforts to make the White House more accessible to all. She is shown wearing pants instead of a dress because she was the first First Lady to wear pants in public.
FS-PN-R-04 – This design depicts the earth with a torch featuring an olive branch, representing Mrs. Nixon’s international travel on behalf of the United States. While First Lady, Mrs. Nixon visited more than 75 countries.
FS-PN-R-05 – This design features figures standing hand-in-hand around a globe. It symbolizes Mrs. Nixon’s efforts to emphasize the value of the average American citizen during her years as First Lady. She advocated for volunteerism around the country and promoted this campaign on an international scale when she personally visited earthquake victims in Peru and a combat zone in Vietnam. She also took strides to make the White House accessible to everyone.
Betty Ford First Spouse Gold Coin Designs
Eight obverse designs for Betty Ford coins were presented for review. Recommended Obverse: The CCAC liked design #1 and CFA selected design #2.
Seven design candidates were presented for the reverse. They were sequentially numbered 1-8 with #2 not presented. Recommended Reverse: The CCAC liked design #8 and the CFA preferred design #6 with the replacement of the text with "Shedding Light" as shown in design #5.
FS-BF-R-01 – This design shows the Scales of Justice holding the symbols of male and female as equal weights, representing equality between men and women. Mrs. Ford was a supporter of social and economic equality and an activist for the Equal Rights Amendment.
FS-BF-R-03 – A spray of oak leaves with three acorns represents Mrs. Ford’s strength when faced with hard personal decisions made in the public eye. The acorns represent her three major contributions to the nation’s well-being and advancement. She advocated for treatment of substance abuse and addiction, raised breast cancer awareness following her diagnosis, and was a passionate supporter and activist for the Equal Rights Amendment.
FS-BF-R-04 – This design features a hand carrying a candle with a flying dove in the background. The inscription reads "Leading the Way." Mrs. Ford shed light on subjects not previously openly discussed, such as addiction and breast cancer. By doing so, she gave hope and freedom to many who were suffering in silence.
FS-BF-R-05 – This design features a hand holding a candle. The inscription reads "Shedding Light." Mrs. Ford led the way to a more open and honest discussion about substance abuse and breast cancer.
FS-BF-R-06 – A lighthouse shines a light in the darkness. The inscription reads "A Beacon for Others." Mrs. Ford was a beacon of openness and honesty for all. She was an activist for improving the nation’s attitude and education regarding treatment of chemical dependency, breast cancer, and equal rights for all.
FS-BF-R-07 – This design features a stylized caduceus with a microphone in place of the rod. Mrs. Ford used her position as First Lady to engage in a public discussion of medical issues relevant to women.
FS-BF-R-08 – A young woman ascends a spiral staircase. This design symbolizes Mrs. Ford’s legacy of inspiring others to achieve recovery from addiction through her example of openness and personal victory.