The United States Mint has unveiled the design selections for the 2015 First Spouse Gold Coins. These coins will honor Elizabeth Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson, the spouses of the 33rd to 36th Presidents of the United States of America.
Initially, the Mint had prepared from five to eight different design candidates for the obverse and reverse of each coin. All of the design candidate images can be viewed here. The candidates were reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), who each provided their recommendations and feedback. Coverage of the CFA and CCAC’s reviews can be found here and here.
The final design selections shown below were selected under the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury.
The Bess Truman First Spouse Gold Coin features an obverse portrait designed by Joel Iskowitz and engraved by Phebe Hemphill. The reverse, which was designed by Joel Iskowitz and engraved by Charles Vickers, features a locomotive wheel moving along a railroad track in order to represent Mrs. Truman’s support for her husband during his 1948 whistle stop campaign trip for re-election.
The design selections match the recommendations of the CCAC. The CFA had recommended a different portrait and a reverse design depicting an engine reminiscent of 1940’s locomotives to represent the whistle stop campaign trip.
The Mamie Eisenhower First Spouse Gold Coin features a portrait designed by Richard Masters and engraved by Joseph Menna. The reverse design features a woman’s hand holding a political campaign button with the slogan “I Like Mamie.” This refers to her popularity as First Lady, involvement in her husband’s campaign, and the popular campaign slogan “I Like Ike.” The reverse was designed by Barbara Fox and engraved by Renata Gordon.
Both the CFA and CCAC had recommended the selected obverse design. The selected reverse design matched the recommendation of the CFA. For the reverse, the CCAC had recommended an alternate design showing the clasped hands of Mamie and Dwight Eisenhower, a globe, five stars across the top, and a DC-54 airplane.
The Jacqueline Kennedy First Spouse Coin features an obverse portrait designed by Susan Gamble and engraved by Phebe Hemphill. The reverse features an image of the saucer magnolia that Mrs. Kennedy chose to be planted in the White House garden and near the eternal flame at her husband’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery. The petals stretch across the globe, with its tips connecting the points of some of her most notable diplomatic visits. The reverse was designed by Benjamin Sowards and engraved by Jim Licaretz.
Both the CFA and CCAC had recommended the selected obverse design. The CCAC had recommended the selected reverse design, while the CFA had offered support for a theme of the arts and another alternative featuring an image of the First Lady with her son John on the White House lawn.
The Lady Bird Johnson First Spouse Gold Coin features a portrait designed by Linda Fox and engraved by Michael Gaudioso. The reverse, which was designed by Chris Costello and engraved by Renata Gordon, features a depiction of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, and flowers to represent Mrs. Johnson’s efforts in the beautification and conservation of America.
The CCAC had recommended the selected obverse and reverse designs. The CFA had preferred a different obverse design, but with the hair style shown in the selected design. The CFA did support the selected reverse design.
Release dates for the 2015 First Spouse Gold Coins have been indicated on the US Mint’s website as 4/16/2015 for Bess Truman, 5/7/2015 for Mamie Eisenhower, 6/2015 for Jacqueline Kennedy, and 8/2015 for Lady Bird Johnson. The US Mint previously indicated maximum mintages of 10,000 for each coin with the exception of the Jacqueline Kennedy Coin, which will carry a higher mintage of 30,000 pieces.