First Spouse Bronze Medals have been surprising winners for recent US Mint products. These bronze duplicate medals have actually been outperforming the First Spouse Gold Coins on which they are based.
The bronze medals have been released on the same date as the corresponding gold coin and priced at an affordable $3.50 each. For the past two years, Four Medal Sets have also been offered at $12.95 which contain one of each medal for the year. The US Mint has also offered Presidential Dollar Coin and First Spouse Medal Sets priced at $7.95.
The medals which have sold out at the US Mint are selling for premiums of 200% or more based on recently completed eBay auctions. The 2007 First Spouse Four Medal Sets in original packaging have sold for $40 or more, compared to the original issue price of $12.95. Some of the individual 2007 First Spouse Medals have sold for $10, compared to the original issue price of $3.50. The 2007 Presidential Dollar Coin and Medal Sets have sold for $60 up to $100, compared to the original price of $7.95.
Why are the medals selling for so much?
I can only guess that the medals have gained popularity as a relatively more affordable way to collect the first spouse series. A medal priced around $10 remains relatively more affordable than a gold coin priced over $500. Also, the 2007 medals seem to have been mostly overlooked and under ordered while they were available at the US Mint, which may be creating a limited supply on the secondary market. Current eBay auctions show about twelve 2007 First Spouse Medals compared to over one hundred 2007 First Spouse Gold Coins available.
Lastly, a recently discovered mule error in 2007 First Spouse Four Medal Sets may be bringing attention to the bronze duplicates. The obverse of the Abigail Adams medal was inadvertently paired with the reverse of the Louisa Adams medal. Three examples were reported to Coin World. One example of the error recently sold on eBay for $700. It’s possible that some people are paying premiums to buy the Four Medal Sets to check for the error.
The US Mint currently has available all of the 2008 medals, the 2008 Four Medal Set, and the Dollar Coin and Medal Sets for Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.
Will the 2008 medals perform as well as the 2007’s?
In my opinion I think it would be unlikely. Once an unexpected winning product like this becomes known, enough people jump into the market to prevent it from happening again. However, for the average collector ordering one or two of the medals to appreciate the First Spouse series, they are a nice acquisition at only $3.50 each.