2012 First Spouse Gold Coin Designs

The United States Mint has announced the design selections for the 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins. These coins feature Alice Paul and the Suffrage movement, Frances Cleveland (first term), Caroline Harrison, and Frances Cleveland (second term).

The Mint has still not provided release dates for any of the coins. Last year, designs for the 2011-dated coins had been announced on February 3, 2011, but the first release featuring Eliza Johnson was not available for sale until May 5, 2011.

As discussed in a recent post, the line up for the series in 2012 takes some unusual twists due to specific legislative requirements. Alice Paul, a leading strategist in the suffrage movement, is depicted for the Presidency of Chester Arthur, who had served without a spouse. She had been born during his Presidential term. Frances Cleveland is depicted on two separate coins, since her husband served as President in two nonconsecutive terms and will be depicted on two separate Presidential Dollars.

The 2012 Alice Paul Suffragist $10 Gold Coin features her portrait on the obverse designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The reverse depicts a participant marching in the suffrage parade, holding a flag and wearing a banner reading “Votes for Women”. This was designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The design selection follows the recommendations of both the CFA and CCAC.

The first coin featuring Frances Cleveland features an obverse portrait designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart. The reverse, designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso, depicts the working women’s receptions held by Frances Cleveland at the White House. Once again, the design selections follow the recommendations of both the CFA and CCAC.

The Caroline Harrison First Spouse Gold Coin features an obverse portrait designed by Frank Morris and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso. The reverse features a close up of an orchid and paintbrushes designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Charles Vickers. The obverse design selection matches the recommendation of the CFA, while the reverse design matches the recommendation of the CCAC.

The second Frances Cleveland First Spouse Gold Coin features an obverse portrait designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The reverse, which is intended to represent the First Lady’s popularity with the public, was designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna. These design selections match the recommendations of the CCAC. The CFA did not offer any recommendations from the provided design candidates.

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  1. Two Cents says

    The orchids design on the Caroline Harrison coin looks pretty good. I can see that one being popular, and over time bringing a premium above the other First Spouse coins despite a higher mintage.

  2. Brad says

    Wow, I had forgotten that there was such a long gap between design selection and availability in 2011. I still wish the Mint would start taking orders for Alice Paul in a couple of weeks or so. I don’t care if it would be backordered for two months, I just want to be able to lock in some coins during this gold spot price dip! I guess the chances of that actually happening are slim to none, though. There would be too many early orders cancelled if gold trends even lower in the coming weeks.

  3. says


    Looks like we might finally get our price cut in gold this week. I believe every morning price fix has, since last Wednesday, been well below $1650. Unless we get two mega-surges in gold in a row tomorrow and Wednesday, things are looking good.

    Given how low gold dipped today, though, I wonder if it might not be prudent to await even MORE cuts…

  4. Brad says


    Yeah, it’s looking very good for a price drop, today at least. I’m not really in the market for any other gold coins right now though, except the 2012 First Spouses. I have been kicking around the idea of picking up another Lucy Hayes Uncirculated coin or two. I can’t shake the feeling that the Mint may have forecast sales of only 2,500 of those, considering the number sold at December 31 and the remaining availability period. Plus, the final number sold could come in even lower than the number struck. It could make for a repeat of the Julia Tyler performance.

    Who knows though, the sales for Lucretia Garfield and the 2012’s might be even smaller, so trying to make sure I own mulitples of the lowest-mintage coin might be a seemingly endless task! I guess one way or another, it will end by 2016!

  5. William says

    Frances Cleveland looks like she was quite the hottie!! (especially in the 22nd FS coin).

  6. Two Cents says

    I think the mintages of the First Spouse gold coins will start to pick up when the more recent First Ladies start to appear, beginning with Anna Roosevelt (Franklin D.). I can see record highs for Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy and Nancy Reagan.

    Then collectors will look back at the extremely low mintages of the earlier FS gold and wonder why they didn’t buy more. At that time in the future, newer collectors may very well start to look for the older FS coins to complete their collections, driving up the prices of the earlier gold.

  7. KC says

    The SF two coin proof set just showed up on the Mint schedule. Anyone has the details regarding the mintage and household limit?

  8. Brad says

    Happy birthday to me! The set is being released the day I turn 40. Too bad my job doesn’t give me the day off on my birthday. I hope the mintage is high enough I don’t have to take a sick day!

  9. The Hawk says

    I don’t think they’ll ever make it to Reagan…Carter is still alive and kicking. The series stop when a president still lives. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  10. auxmike says

    Any link for a press release for the San Fran sets yet? I DEFINITLY want this one! As for the FS coins, they are all quite nice, except for the one with the old lady, LOL!

  11. Two Cents says


    Frances Folsom Cleveland (originally named Frank after an uncle), was only 21 years old when she became First Lady in 1886, the youngest First Lady ever. Her husband President Grover Cleveland, at 49 years old, was 27 years older than her at the time of their marriage.

    Grover was a longtime close friend of her father, and upon Mr. Folsom’s death, Grover administered his estate. Grover proposed to Frances soon after she graduated from college and married her the next year in the White House, the first and only President to be married there. In their wedding vows, the words “honor, love and obey” were replaced with “honor, love and keep.”

    At the end of Grover’s first term (defeated in the 1888 election), Frances was said to have told the White House staff to take care of the place because she and her husband would be returning in four years.

    After Grover died in 1908, Frances remarried in 1913 to an archeology professor, but when she died in 1947 at 83 years old, she was buried in Princeton, NJ next to Grover.

  12. joe says

    “Frances Cleveland sure aged in four years, it looks like two different people!”

    That’s because she had a couple kids between Cleveland’s two presidencies.

  13. Two Cents says

    Hawk, good question. I went back to the legislation of 2005, and in Sec 102, paragraph (2)(E) – Limitation In Series To Deceased Presidents, it states:

    “No coin issued under this subsection may bear the image of a living former or current President, or of any deceased former President during the 2-year period following the date of the death of that President.”

    In paragraph (8) – Termination of Program, it states:

    “The issuance of coins under this subsection shall terminate when each President has been so honored, subject to paragraph (2)(E).”

    So it would appear that if Carter is still alive when his presidential term of office comes around in the sequence, he will be skipped over and Reagan will be next to be on the coin. But it would seem that Carter would not be honored on a coin ever, since the series would end with Reagan as the last deceased president (assuming that all other former presidents are still alive).

    However, if Carter dies within the two-year restricted period, the question would arise if he would then be eligible for his coin after Reagan. For example, if Carter dies in 2015 and his coin was supposed to be due in 2016, he would not be eligible in the normal sequence, and Reagan would be next. But does that mean that Carter would be eligible for his coin in 2017? Or would the program still end with the Reagan coin (again assuming that the other former presidents are still alive)?

    Am I looking at this correctly?

  14. Brad says

    Two Cents,

    As it stands now, I’m pretty sure the program will end after the Gerald Ford coin. If Reagan was going to be on a coin, his name would be on the schedule already. There won’t be a gap in the program, so unless Carter dies by 2014, neither he nor Reagan will have a coin.

    What I’m wondering is why Betty Ford has not yet been added to the First Spouse schedule. She has been dead for a while now, and definitely qualifies for a coin as the law is written.

  15. don says

    06/07/2012 2012 American Eagle San Francisco Two-Coin Silver Proof Set
    This is the one I waiting…Hope limit will be 5 per Household…..

  16. joe says

    Do the spouses have to be deceased too? Nancy Reagan is still alive, so does that have anything to do with Reagan not being on the list yet?

  17. Saucexx says


    I concur on the gold price drop. I’ll probably wait until the next week is almost up though. I’m getting the feeling that gold will keep falling for awhile. While that’s good for my bank account, higher sales of certain gold coins would off set the price drop.

    “Then collectors will look back at the extremely low mintages of the earlier FS gold and wonder why they didn’t buy more.”

    I like your thinking but unfortunately I didn’t have the resources to jump into the first spouse series. If only the fed would let me print money.

  18. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    Stop at Ford? Probably stop at Reagan. They don’t want to get to “you know who”.

  19. VABEACHBUM says

    Nice to see Joel Iskowitz and Don Everhart involved with another collaboration (Cleveland 1 OBV). Iskowitz has a great artistic eye; always doing the very best he can with the subject matter he is given. I certainly hope the US Mint continues to keep him involved in their more demanding, artistic requirements. If so, better offerings will be coming to us collectors – finally!!

    Also glad to see that the Mint made the smart choices with the Harrison OBV and REV selections. I commented on that combination early on within the March 26 Thread. The Lily devices are going to create an awesome cameo effect upon that open, PR field, and should cause this coin to garner some extra attention.

  20. Brad says

    Gold is getting close to the $1,650 level again. If tomorrow’s pm fix is at or above that level, we won’t get the price drop after all.

    Here’s to hoping that the downward trend returns for at least one more day!

  21. ABC says

    VABEACHBUM said:
    “The Lily devices are going to create an awesome cameo effect upon that open, PR field, and should cause this coin to garner some extra attention.”

    This depends on how the devices will be engraved. I liked the reverse of the 2011 platinum proof eagle, but when you look at the way the design was engraved, you’ll notice that the devices are flat (there’s no depth to the design). If the engraver adds depth to the reverse of the proof Harrison coin, then this would be true.

  22. says


    I believe prices are based on the average of the weekly price fixes. Since four of them have come in well under $1650, I would expect that short of a giant surge that takes it to near $1700, we should get our price cut.


    That explains why the Frances Cleveland looks good! Should have known Iskowitz was involved; the only thing he’s done I really didn’t like was the 2012 infantry coin.

  23. Michael says

    Brad is referring to the secondary rule that the Wednesday PM fix price must fall into the same range directionally as any potential price change.

    For the price decrease to take place:

    1.) average price must fall into $1600 to $1,649.99 range, which seems highly likely; AND

    2.) Wednesday PM fix price must be below $1,650, which may or may not happen.

  24. VABEACHBUM says

    C.O. – Agree on all counts. I had seen Iskowitz’s name associated with several pieces over the last 3-4 years, but he really got my attention w/ his Platinum Eagle REV, which was a stellar presentation. With the exception of that APE issue, I have tried to collect at least one example of each of his pieces. Personally, I don’t think he has been challenged yet, and am looking forward to the unique pieces are yet to come.

    With regards to gold, lots of people buying on the dip. Any substantial activities and a specific direction of a swing will depend on the FOMC comments over the next 48 hours, as well as any new indicators from the Euro Zone during that same time frame.

  25. says


    The 2011 platinum eagle and the Medal of Honor were both what got my attention in regards to his artwork. I liked the platinum eagle so much I really went out on a limb to get it.

  26. george glazener says

    Figures! Jimmy Carter screwing up yet another good thing even 31 years after leaving office.

  27. Don Wechter says

    Thanks a lot, Mint! Take your sweet time, so that the four issues for 2012 are all bunched together for the back half of the year. With your healthy 20% or so that gets tacked on to the melt price, what fun it is for collectors who wish to order a proof and unc. version of each issue. Even as gold languishes at the $1600. mark, that’s still close to two grand out of pocket per issue. That aint chump change. You need to spread the release dates out to no more than one per quarter for us 99 percenters!

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