Washington, D.C. — Director of the United States Mint Ed Moy joined Mrs. Laura Bush in the White House East Room today for a ceremony celebrating the First Spouse Gold Coin Program. The collectible First Spouse Gold Coins, inaugurated this year, mark the first U.S. coin series consecutively honoring women.
The designs for the 2008 First Spouse Gold Coins were on display for the first time during today’s ceremony. The new 2008 coins will feature images of Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Adams, Andrew Jackson’s Liberty and Martin Van Buren’s Liberty.
“This is the first time in American history that women are featured on a consecutive series of coins,” noted Director Moy. “And, it is the first time our First Ladies are gracing coins made of 24–karat gold.”
Much of today’s ceremony focused on the final coin of 2007 honoring First Lady Dolley Madison, with Dolley Madison re–enactor Lucinda Frailly of Canton, Ohio, in full costume discussing the colorful First Lady’s accomplishments. Children from two schools near Montpelier, Virginia, the home of James and Dolley Madison, attended the event.
Mrs. Bush highlighted the historical contributions made by the nation’s First Ladies. “America’s first ladies have guided, comforted and sustained our nation in times of trial and triumph. At the same time, they’ve fulfilled their other very important role–and that is the wife of the President of the United States,” she said. “The East Room is the perfect place to honor these remarkable women, especially one of America’s most beloved First Ladies: Dolley Madison.”
The gold 24–karat Dolley Madison First Spouse Coin is available at www.usmint.gov, or by calling 1–800–USA–MINT starting at noon today. The United States Mint also produces 1–5/16″ bronze medals that bear the likeness of the First Spouse Gold Coins.
The United States is honoring our Nation’s First Spouses by issuing collectible one–half ounce gold coins featuring their images, in the order that they served. The First Spouse Gold Coins are the companion coins to the circulating Presidential $1 Coins, also inaugurated this year.
President Jefferson’s wife, Martha, died in 1782, 19 years before he took office, so a rendering of Liberty as represented on a coin of his time was used (Draped Bust Half–Cent: 1800–1808). The same honor will be afforded to Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren in 2008, as they were also widowed by the time of their Presidencies. The half–ounce First Spouse Gold Coins have a denomination of $10, but their 24–karat gold content is worth considerably more than that.
The obverse (heads side) of the Dolley Madison First Spouse Gold Coin bears a portrait designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Don Everhart. Included on the coin are the inscriptions “Dolley Madison” and “1809–1817″–the years she served as First Spouse. Additional inscriptions include “In God We Trust,” “LIBERTY” and “2007.”
The image on the coin’s reverse, which was designed by Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Don Everhart, depicts Dolley Madison saving the Cabinet papers and the renowned Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, as she was forced to flee the White House in advance of approaching British troops in August 1814. Inscriptions on the coin’s reverse include “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E Pluribus Unum,” “$10,” “1/2 OZ.” and “.9999 Fine Gold.”