The United States Mint is continuing with the chronological First Spouse series of US Gold Coins in 2012 to honor the wives of Presidents who had served the nation. The series was begun in 2007 when four types of gold coins were issued commemorating Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty as well as Dolley Madison. Each year, the Mint issues four coins. This year commemorates Alice Paul, Frances Cleveland (first term), Caroline Harrison and Frances Cleveland (second term). The one-half ounce $10 US gold coins feature images of the wives of these former Presidents. The First Spouse Gold Coins are issued in union with the Presidential $1 Coins that are issued in honor of the Presidents.
Anatomy of the First Spouse US Gold Coins Series
The heads sides or obverses of these US gold coins mark portraits of the first spouses along with their names, the year and order of their term as the first spouse. Also mentioned on the obverse is the motto ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ and LIBERTY along with the year of mintage of the gold coin.
Every gold coin of the series has a unique reverse side, which features an image that is representative of the particular spouse’s life and work. The reverse side of the gold coins also feature the inscriptions UNITED STATES of AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, $10, 1/2 OZ. and .9999 FINE GOLD.
First Spouse Gold Coin Series 2012
Let us take a look at the 2012 First Spouse Gold Coin series:
1. Alice Paul: The Suffrage Movement US Gold Coin
This coin is in memorial of President Chester Arthur (1881 – 1885) as Arthur’s wife, Ellen died before he took office as President of the United States of America. During the early days of the foundation of the USA, women struggled to get a right to vote. Alice Paul was one of the primary strategists for the suffrage movement. It was only in January 1918 that President Wilson took up women’s suffrage on a war footing and urged the Congress to pass legislation for the same. The ratification of the amendment to the Constitution on August 26, 1920 gave women in the States the right to vote. This US gold coin is dedicated to Alice Paul and the suffrage movement.
2. Frances Cleveland First Spouse US Gold Coin (First Term)
Born in July 1864 in Buffalo, New York, Frances Folsom Cleveland married President Grover Cleveland on June 2, 1886. She was popular among working class women as she held receptions at the White House on weekends to personally meet maids, government clerks and shop girls. Popularly known as Frankie, the First Lady gained instant popularity with her efforts, although President Cleveland was worried about her safety. One of the events attended by her was featured on the cover page of the Harper’s Weekly magazine in November 1887. The reverse side of US gold coin dedicated to Frankie depicts the working women’s receptions Mrs. Cleveland was well known for.
3. Caroline Harrison First Spouse US Gold Coin
Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison was born on October 1, 1832, in Oxford, Ohio. The First Lady was passionate about painting and conducted china painting classes. She also decorated the White House with candlesticks and platters. She made efforts to organize and then display pieces of past Presidential china in the White House. This is why the reverse side of the US gold coin in memory of Caroline Harrison, wife of President Benjamin Harrison, depicts a close-up of an orchid and paint brushes.
4. Frances Cleveland First Spouse US Gold Coin (Second Term)
President Grover Cleveland continues to be the only President of the States to get two non-consecutive Presidential terms. The fourth US gold coin in the First Spouse series for 2012 depicts an event emblematic of Mrs. Cleveland’s popularity with the public.
Another important fact that you should know about the First Spouse Series is that, in case a President served without a spouse, the gold coin is issued with an obverse image emblematic of Liberty, as portrayed on a coin of that era. The reverse image is emblematic of the theme of the President’s life in these US gold coins.