Caroline Harrison First Spouse Gold Coin

Today, December 6, 2012 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of the Caroline Harrison First Spouse Gold Coin. This is the third release within the sixth year of the series of 24 karat one-half ounce gold coins.

The obverse design of the coin features a portrait of the First Lady designed by Frank Morris and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso. The inscriptions read “Caroline Harrison”, “In God We Trust”, “Liberty”, “2012 W”, “23rd” to indicate the order of the Presidency, and “1889-1892” for the dates of the term.

The reverse design is intended to represent Caroline Harrison’s love of flowers with a depiction of an orchid and paint brushes. During her time as First Lady, she had introduced the use of orchids as the official floral decoration at state receptions. She had also conducted china-painting classes in the White House for other women. Inscriptions on the reverse include “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, the denomination, and the precious metal weight and purity. The reverse was designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Charles Vickers.

The Caroline Harrison First Spouse Coin will be available in either proof or uncirculated versions, both struck at the West Point Mint. A maximum mintage of 13,000 coins has been established across both versions.

Initial pricing for the offering will be $1,029 for the proof coin and $1,016 for the uncirculated coin. These prices are based on an average gold price within the $1,700 to $1,749.99 range. Pricing may be adjusted on a weekly basis based on changes in the market price of gold.

This latest release of the series comes less than one month after the previous release featuring Frances Cleveland and less than two months after the release for Alice Paul Suffragist. Production problems for these first two releases had resulted in an extended delay. The US Mint previously indicated their intention to release all four of this year’s designs prior to the end of the calendar year. The fourth design representing Frances Cleveland’s second term as First Lady still has a release date listed of “TBD”.

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  1. Dan in Fla says

    Thanks for keeping everyone up to date at the Mint. The day starts with the US Mint blog. Has anyone else smelled the FS packaging? Mine smelled of wet lacquer or wet paint. The coin was beautiful to my eye and since I do not believe in paying for grading. OGP is fine with me.

  2. EvilFlipper says

    I won’t even try to flip first spouses… Can’t stand the designs EXCEPT for the first spouses with the old coin designs in place of presidents with no wives.

  3. Brad says


    Is there any way you might be able to get the Mint to give you an idea if they plan to strike enough 2012 First Spouses to have a realistic shot at selling them all for “approximately one year”, or are the coins subject to early January sellouts because only one batch of each design and finish were minted? I know the 13,000 product limit can’t really be depended on, based on what we’ve seen happen in the past. I don’t want to miss out on these, but to keep the bank happy I probably shouldn’t order them until after closing on the house around January 8th.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

  4. VABEACHBUM says

    @ Brad – I was wondering the same thing, but on a different tact: Does the original legislation include language directing that the coins must be struck in the year of issue?? I’m sure the Mint could justify extended production schedules because of the “process upsets” encountered with these 2012 coins.

    If the hard deadline does exist, and the Mint is hustling to produce all 8 of the 2012 Spouse Coins prior to December 31st, I think the production is going to be 6000 or less per spouse across both finishes. Current sales numbers and the trending demonstrate that they do not need to produce more. Similarly, I think these 2012 FS coins will require careful inspection upon receipt, as combination of the process problem and the accelerated schedule will likely result in a larger percentage of flaws and defects.

  5. Louis says

    @VABEACHBUM- From what I have seen and heard from others the quality of the 2012 coins is actually much better than last year’s. I did get one in a damaged capsule, which they are replacing, but the coin was in great condition.

  6. VABEACHBUM says

    Thanks for the feedback, Louis. Glad to hear that you’re pleased with the 2012 FS coins you have received so far. I hope you have great succes with the remaining releases.

    BTW – I really enjoyed your 12/4 article on the Mercanti ASE book. Looking forward to getting my copy this weekend!!

  7. dan says


    I have been getting 2 unc FS coins since the begining and have returned many over the years but more so in the last 2 years. So far the 4 2012 I have received this year have all been keepers. Really pleased with the quality so far.

  8. Robertson says

    There is also no reason to assume that all eight 2012 FS coins have already been struck, which I believe is required by law. Then it’s just a matter of spacing out their initial release dates with what little time remains in the calendar year. Based on the mintage of the most recent FS coins, I’m guessing that the Mint has struck about 3,000 of each, proof and uncirculated, and will make them available for purchase throughout most of 2013 or until they sell out.

  9. Robertson says

    Oops, my first sentence should say:

    There is also no reason to assume that all eight 2012 FS coins have NOT already been struck, which I believe is required by law.

  10. Louis says

    Thanks a lot, VABEACHBUM. Don’t know if you ordered already, but last time I checked Whitman had autographed copies for the regular price, or you can save some money on Amazon if any are left.

  11. Louis says

    BIG NEWS! The Mint has released the final unaudited San Fran set number. I won’t say what it is because Michael may want to break the news, but I can tell you this. It’s quite a bit lower than the 20th anniv. sets, and there were a lot of cancellations. I will have something on this in CoinWeek in the next couple days.

  12. ClevelandRocks says

    Thank you Michael!
    Not sure how much this new “standard” of lower sales on most Mint products matters….

  13. Samuel says

    C.R., based on the ASE mintage on the same forum, the sales are getting bigger and bigger. so, for ASE, it is always new “high”, not new “low”.

  14. Craig says

    Louis, is the mint just sending you a new capsule? I called the mint today about getting the gold box replaced for Alice Paul, (it was in awful shape…the gold outer sleeve warped and had something yellow poured on it in addition to being all bent on the edges, and the cover bubbled from something wet), and they told me they coulodn’t send another outer sleeve. The coins are fine, (I got the first Frances Cleveland at the same time). But the Cleveland came in a total differnt package…the new brown. So the 2012 coins don’t match! I’m torn whether to return it just for the outer sleeve with the coin being so nice. My fear is that I’ll get good packaging, but not a good coin. I don’t slab anything and save all my OGP. Any suggestions anyone?

    As for the mintages, they have to be produced in 2012 and thus may be very low. This sure makes it hard to have to all the FS coins for 2012 relased in shuch close proximity to one another! If they do this next year, I’ll be sunk…5 FS coins and perhaps even higher gold prices!

  15. Billrod says

    Craig – If you have a good unc Cleveland FS don’t send it back. They may send you the one I returned which had a reverse that was severely hairlined. The capsule with enclosed coin was loose in the box when it arrived. One bit of good news, I would grade the box it came in as MS 70. Maybe you can have them send my box to you ! Good luck and best for the holidays.

  16. ClevelandRocks says

    Did you guys look at the obverse of this Caroline Harrison?
    May end up with low sales, but I won’t buy a coin that I don’t like to look at.

    @Samuel, what are you saying about the 225k SF mintage, high or low?

  17. Louis says

    Craig, My box and coin were fine, just the capsule was damaged. I agree you should keep the coin if it is that good. More confirmation that 2012 FS quality is high.

  18. Hidalgo says

    @ClevelandRocks – I like the reverse side of the Harrison FS gold coin. Better than some of the other FS obverses.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  19. Ikaika says

    @ Hidalgo

    I agree with you. The C. Harrison has a botanical look to it which is different from the previous ladies. Plan in getting one.

  20. ClevelandRocks says

    There are many Canadian and British Empire coins that have awesome reverses, but they won’t let me order one without the “old queen lady” obverse. I need to like both sides of the coin…

  21. ABC says

    That’s not a chop stick. It’s another paint brush. There are two of them. One is pointing up and the other is pointing down.

  22. phillip says

    This one is really beautiful coin. She purged the white house of rodents and insects. Her husband wasn’t even allowed to dance when they were courting, but she took him out anyway like in Footloose. Died of TB.

  23. ABC says

    I made a mistake in my comment above. Both are paint brushes and they are both pointing in the same direction (up).

  24. VABEACHBUM says

    When the 2012 designs were announced last year, I had made the comment that the PR version of this coin should be quite exquisite. The minimalist reverse design of the frosted finish orchids and paint brushes will absolutely float in cameo against that PR finish, reverse surface. I cannot wait to see it.

  25. joe says

    Craig – Here is my suggestions:

    If you have the funds to spare temporarily, you can order another coin and return the best of the coins you received along with the crappy OGP. It will cost you return shipping on the coin. Alternatively, you can go to and purchase a new one for $10 plus shipping. Or you can go on eBay and get one for about $13 shipped.

  26. Louis says

    The obverse may not be pretty but it seems to be an accurate representation of the person, and the reverse is excellent, one of the best and different from the rest. Will be interesting to see if that pushes sales higher.

  27. HistoryStudent says

    Sales will tough on all all eight coins released at the end of this year. That’s because of many reasons namely: economy, expendable incomes, POG especially if it passes above the $2,000 price soon, and the trend (the TREND is your FRIEND).

    Perhaps it’s GONNA be hard for the folks to find $10,000 here at the end-of-the-year? However that all said this series will be the lowest MINTAGE(S) in over 100 years for many many many of the individual coins. I expect either with the 2012s or the 2013s to see an UNC version at way less than 2,000 units.

  28. phillip says

    I like the obverse — reminds me of a Morgan (seated Liberty) silver dollar. Definitely a cool coin. If I did buy based on aesthetics, this would be another winner in my book. The misogynists are at least in part driving the sales lower on these coins — go misogynists!

  29. HistoryStudent says

    all you need to know plus between October 2012 and December 2013 the US MINTY will issue a total of 18 ( YES, SOME BEACH – read EIGHTEEN)
    spouses 9 in UNC and 9 more in Proof.

    2012 Alice Paul 1881–1885 October 11, 2012
    2012 Frances Cleveland 1885–1889 TBA – 2012
    2012 Caroline Harrison 1889–1893 TBA – 2012
    2012 Frances Cleveland 1893–1897 TBA – 2012

    2013 Ida McKinley 1897–1901 TBA – 2013
    2013 Edith Roosevelt 1901–1909 TBA – 2013
    2013 Helen Taft 1909–1913 TBA – 2013
    2013 Ellen Wilson 1913–1914 TBA – 2013
    2013 Edith Wilson 1915–1921 TBA – 2013

    There goes $20 to $30 grand…

  30. Ikaika says

    The way the Mint scheduled the releases of the 2012 and maybe the 2013 FS might have just killed the interest of the few collectors left for this series, including myself. This is way too much money to come up with in too short of a time. Will probably be very selective from now on. What good is a rare coin if nobody wants them?

  31. joe says

    ^ Yeah…if the Mint was a real business and not a monopoly, they would have gone bankrupt a long time ago (with the USPS). The idea for this series was flawed from the start:

    1) Using gold for president’s wives?
    2) Way too long a series!
    3) Half ounce instead of 1/10 ounce or even silver? Gold was expensive even when the law was originally passed for this particular them.
    4) Unc and proof sets?
    5) And STUPIDITY/INCOMPETENCE for getting half-way through the series and then releasing 8 coins within a matter of days.

    The last item is the perfect example of the Mint screwing any faithful collectors still collecting this series. It’s really very sad…

  32. oldfolkie says

    I agree this series has been a disaster since the early sell outs dominated by the big buyers and no limits. This latest mass release is just plain stupid. But, big but, can you imagine a better way to create an incredibly valuable, truly rare set of coins that will easily be in greater demand than their supply in the future.

    A woman president, increasing women’s wealth, Jackie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, Lady Bird, there are just too many reasons for this series to not grow and maintain a dedicated following, even if it is small by collecting standards.

    It’ll be tough but I’m in until the end.

  33. HistoryStudent says

    These coins in both UNC and PF will be amazingly OVERL@@KED by the collectors and sheeple alike.

    “History NEVER exactly repeats, but the darn thing sure does RHYME,” ~ Mark Twain.

    MANY HAYES to HOOVER will RHYME with the $50 Panama Pacific gold pieces 100 years ago. We are now seeing around 2,000 lows for UNCs and 3,000 lows for PFs. These numbers are 10% of the original UNCs and 15% of the original PFs.

    We are L@@KING down the barrel of QE unlimited, DEBT unlimited, and businesses off 50%, with 86 million secretly-quietly unemployed, gas was $1.60 four years ago now $3.80 in “Fornia, ” and the sheeple got a 1% raise in their SS.

    Remember the Chinese writing/sign for CRISIS is the same as OPPORTUNITY. Just L@@K long and hard at it differently.

    PS – I see the same thing in BOTH the LATEST and ongoing 5 oz. slabbed types.

  34. les crew says

    i have been in since the start ,martha was a roofer by trade was collecting for the kids now can not g any further .i have all ms and pf up to paul im out of cash .rent and food and christmas come first .so all you who can afford it have a great time collecting the spouse series . i guees im going to sell all mine on ebay .the mint has made it impossible for me to continue .

  35. Ikaika says

    @. HistoryStudent

    I am sure 100 years from now we will all be here talking about how you were right 🙂

  36. joe says

    A rare coins does not necessarily make a coin collectible. There are other factors that come into play (desirability being one). And if you look at the sales of the FS coins, it is apparent that it’s not desirable. More than any other series (including the 5 ounce ATBs), the US Mint and congress have created the perfect storm of disaster with this series. Spouses on gold???? Eight coins released within a few weeks????

    I think the liberty subset will be a decent long-term value; however, only the rarest of the spouses will be sought after. The others (even if they only have a higher mintage by one coin) will not be sought by collectors. It will all be about “what’s the rarest;” not the series itself.

    I do agree that these coins will have value as bullion (or slightly higher) due to the out of control spending on the part of our government. And if QE goes to infinity, these coins will be a much better play than paper. However, bullion gold coins are a better value in that case due to their lower cost.

    Les – I would pick the coin types you like the least (MS or PF) and sell them to pay for the future releases of the other types. You might as well get an entire set of one or the other since you’ve invested so much time and effort. You will be one of the very few to have a complete set whichever type you pick. And gold is certainly a better play than paper these days (or the market in my opinion)…

  37. joe says

    I meant to add that if the new Director of the Mint (once she’s approved) goes before congress to try and get this series canceled, I will be impressed. It won’t happen, but it would show that she has some business sense. But since the presumed Director is female and this series celebrates females, there’s not a snowballs chance she will try and kill it.

    And just to show I’m not being sexist, my favorite coins have Lady Liberty on them…just not president’s wives. And the Liberty Subset is also very nice in my opinion.

  38. Craig says

    So the mint has posted theat the Frances Cleveland 2nd term will be available on 12/20 along with the spouse medal sets. (Both the the four for the year and the individual one). So we’ll finally be caught up! Now, let’s see how they release the five sets in 2013. Now, can we get gold to drop?

  39. les crew says

    thanks for the suggestion / what do you think the total value of the complete sets of proof 70 and mint state 70 would be .just wondering if i still complete both issues/ . i know i would end up with 40 ounces of gold . does anyone have a good guess.

  40. Craig says

    Les, I think you would generate more money selling the coins individually rahter than as a set. If you watch auctions at all, like the Liberity subset, they go for more when sold individually rather than the four or the eight sold as a set. I beleive the main reason is the tremedous difference in cash outlay. Now, if you were to hold on to the set(s) for a few years, then I think you might be better selling them as a set…perhaps at a coin auction.

    If you were to sell them as a set now, I think you would only get about $1000 per coin which is less than the $1029 the mint is currently charging. But down the road, when we have more prominent first ladies, I think the set will generate new found interest and could sky rocket in demand and price. Just my two cents. Good luck.

  41. les crew says

    thanks for the info.wondering how many proof 70 and mint state 70 sets there are ..hard to tell when the big coin stores are pushing up the mintages.heard one set topped out at around 350 in mint 70. ngc. looking forward for someone to reply .thanks again guys.

  42. HistoryStudent says

    Harrison sells only 942 UNCs & 1,380 PF FIRST WEEK.

    In 9 days the MINTY releases Cleveland II in UNC & PF.

    There is an old Chinese curse: “May you live in INTERESTING times.”


    Jesse Livermore:

    Do the research
    Take a heck of a position
    For a long long time.

  43. joe says

    Les – If you are talking about NGC coins, just go to NGC’s website and enter your particular coin’s ID into their system. It will tell you how many coins there are of that particular grade… FYI.

  44. HistoryStudent says

    @ Les:

    If you have Eric Jordan’s TWO BOOKS:

    Modern Commemorative Coins 2009
    Top 50 Most Popular Coins 2011

    They do give you a skill set that is amazing for the future and probably not for chasing past issued coins.

    I was amazed at how true the economics turned out with my many sets of pre-1933 Saints. Funny how when the bullion price rises the numismatics premium on PM coins goes SOUTH.

    PS I must have read those SIMPLE books 10 times.

    Best to you ~ HS

  45. les crew says

    thanks i will read those books .its great having other people give their opionins on coins and things .. thanks again. les

  46. Dan in Fla says

    Sorry too much to read and keep up with.Thanks to the History Student for the history lesson.
    I just received my FS Harrison proof and the box is gold again. What is the Mint trying to do ?

  47. phillip says

    Got my Harrison today and like I thought it is stunning. I’m sure the Jackie O American flag bikini coin design will sell more, but this is one of my favorites, if not the best so far!

  48. phillip says

    I was wondering, since both Betty and Gerald Ford have passed does she get a FS coin? Then would the series end with Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, since both are still alive? Or does the Mint just wait for new spouses to meet the requirements and issue coins forever?

  49. Billrod says

    Received my replacement FS Cleveland (1) today and will send it back tomorrow for a refund. There was a big obverse scratch from the chin to the rim. You have to be blind to miss it. I called the Mint and was told I can get a refund for my postage if I send in the receipts. I’ll order both Clevelands tomorrow. I hope they don’t recycle the rejects.

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