US Coins

First Spouse gold coin designs get Commission of Fine Arts nod

The Commission of Fine Arts recommended proposed designs Sept. 18 for the First Spouse gold $10 coins for 2015 and 2016.

CFA members attempted to recall how the women appeared when they were in the White House and were reluctant to accept some of the designs.

Proposed 2015 coins designs considered were for Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy and Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson.

Designs for 2016 were considered for Pat Nixon and Elizabeth “Betty” Ford.

The CFA members agreed that the reverse of the gold coin to honor Jacqueline Kennedy should show her support for the arts, but they didn’t like the design that the Mint recommended so they chose another design. The recommended design shows Mrs. Kennedy holding her son John Jr.  Panel members stated they really would have liked another arts design.

For the coin honoring Lady Bird Johnson, the panel wanted the size of the Jefferson Memorial on the reverse to be shrunk so a greater emphasis could be placed on her efforts to beautify the nation’s roadways.

For Betty Ford, the panel urged that a lighthouse image be placed on the reverse with the text revised to say “Shedding Light” for Mrs. Ford’s work toward better awareness of substance abuse and breast cancer.

Each of the recommended obverses depicts an individual portrait of the first spouse.

The remaining recommended First Spouse reverses depict:

??Bess Truman — a 1940s style locomotive that pulled the presidential train Mrs. Truman rode on the campaign trail.

??Mamie Eisenhower — a hand holding an “I Like Mamie” button reflecting her role in her husband’s presidential campaign.

??Pat Nixon — her greeting a wheelchair-bound visitor to the White House, symbolizing her efforts to make the structure more accessible. 

See related story about design reviews for the 2016 America the Beautiful quarter dollars, Proof 2015 and 2016 American Eagle platinum coins, and a congressional gold medal honoring the Civil Air Patrol.

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