U.S. Mint officials April 23 unveiled the obverse and reverse
designs approved by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner for the
2012 First Spouse half-ounce gold coins and bronze medals.
The coins and medals honor Alice Paul and the suffrage movement,
Frances Cleveland (two separate pieces, reflecting husband Grover
Cleveland’s two nonconsecutive terms as president) and Caroline Harrison.
Public Law 109-145, the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, contains
a provision for the continuity of the First Spouse Coin Program in the
event that a president served without a first spouse. Typically, a
First Spouse coin for a president with no spouse would depict a
Liberty design taken from a coin that circulating during the
president’s term in office, on the obverse, and on the reverse, a
In the case of President Chester Arthur, who was widowed before he
took office, the act specifically requires that the obverse design for
his corresponding First Spouse gold coin incorporate the name and
likeness of Alice Paul, a leading strategist in the suffrage movement,
who was born during his term. The act specifies that the reverse
design be representative of the suffrage movement.
The First Spouse .9999 fine gold $10 coins will be struck in Proof
and Uncirculated versions at the West Point Mint and bear the W Mint
mark. The bronze medals, struck at the Philadelphia Mint, will bear no
No schedule has yet been announced by U.S. Mint officials as to
when the First Spouse coins and medals will be offered.
Alice Paul coin
The obverse of the Alice Paul and the Suffrage Movement gold coin
and bronze medal was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion
Program Master Designer Susan Gamble and sculptured by U.S. Mint
Medallic Sculptor Phebe Hemphill.
The Paul reverse, designed and sculptured by Hemphill, depicts a
participant marching in the suffrage parade, holding the flag and
wearing a banner that says VOTES FOR WOMEN.
Frances Cleveland coins
The obverse of the first Frances Cleveland First Spouse gold coin
and bronze medal was designed by AIP Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and
sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II. The
reverse was designed by AIP Associate Designer Barbara Fox and
sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Michael Gaudioso. The
reverse design depicts the working women’s receptions that Mrs.
Cleveland held at the White House.
The obverse of the second Frances Cleveland First Spouse gold coin
and bronze medal was designed by Fox and sculptured by Hemphill. The
reverse, designed and sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Joseph
F. Menna, depicts an event emblematic of Mrs. Cleveland’s popularity
with the public.
Caroline Harrison coin
The obverse of the Caroline Harrison First Spouse gold coin and
medal was designed by AIP Associate Designer Frank Morris and
sculptured by Gaudioso. The reverse was designed by Donna Weaver, AIP
master designer and former U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver, and sculptured
by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers. The reverse design
represents Mrs. Harrison’s love of flowers and depicts a close-up of
an orchid and paintbrushes.
The 1.3125-inch bronze medals will be priced at $7.95 each.
The medals bear the same obverse and reverse designs as the gold
coins, but sans any coin inscriptions.
For scheduled coin and medal release dates, visit www.usmint.gov/catalog.
Pricing for the gold coins will be based on the United States Mint’s
pricing structure for gold and platinum products. ■