The United States Mint has released design candidate images for the 2016 First Spouse Gold Coins. The designs released are for coins honoring the spouses of the 37th to 38th Presidents of the United States, Patricia Nixon and Betty Ford.
The authorizing legislation for the program links the issuance of the First Spouse Coins to the release of corresponding Presidential $1 Coins. The program concludes once every eligible President has been honored on a $1 coin.
When design candidates for the 2015-2016 Presidential Dollars were released last year, the 2016-dated coins only included Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. This seemed to exclude Ronald Reagan who meets the eligibility criteria of having been deceased for at least two years, but would have made the series go out of order by skipping over Jimmy Carter. I had questioned the Mint as to whether a coin would be issued to honor Reagan, or if this would remain dependent on the status of Jimmy Carter.
The response I had received was as follows:
The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 authorizes four Presidential $1 Coins to be issued each year in the order of the period of service of each President. The program terminates when each President has been so honored, subject to a limitation that such coins may be issued only to honor Presidents who have been deceased for more than two years. Accordingly the United States Mint cannot definitively ascertain the President who will mark the end of the program until at least December 31, 2014.
The response still does not specifically answer whether a Reagan $1 Coin would be issued or if this would be dependent on Carter also receiving a coin. Whatever the case, the final issues of the Presidential $1 Coin Program and by extension the First Spouse Gold Coin Program will not be set in stone until the end of this year.
For now, here are the design candidates for the coins honoring Patricia Nixon and Betty Ford. Articles covering the reviews and recommendations offered by the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee will follow on Coin Update.
Patricia Nixon First Spouse Gold Coin Design Candidates
Betty Ford First Spouse Gold Coin Design Candidates