First Spouse Gold Coin Mintages

The First Spouse Gold Coin series began with much excitement in 2007. The first three coins released sold the maximum authorized mintage of 40,000 coins in less than one day. As the series has progressed, collector interest has dwindled resulting in lower sales and relatively low mintages.

There are currently five First Spouse coins available directly from the US Mint. This includes four releases from 2009 and the final 2008 release featuring Martin Van Buren’s Liberty. On December 4, sales will begin for the final release of 2009 featuring Margaret Taylor, and sales of the Van Buren’s Liberty coin will end. There are seven previous issues of the series that are no longer available for sale.

Sales figures for all released First Spouse Gold Coins are presented below. This data is based on the latest weekly sales report and earlier data. Coins listed in italics still remain available for sale directly from the US Mint.

Uncirculated Proof Total
Martha Washington 20,000 20,000 40,000
Abigail Adams 20,000 20,000 40,000
Jefferson’s Liberty 20,000 20,000 40,000
Dolley Madison 12,541 18,355 30,896
Elizabeth Monroe 4,519 7,933 12,452
Louisa Adams 4,223 7,454 11,677
Jackson’s Liberty 4,754 7,806 12,560
Van Buren’s Liberty 4,229 7,314 11,543
Anna Harrison 3,027 5,843 8,870
Letitia Tyler 2,411 4,399 6,810
Julia Tyler 2,232 3,929 6,161
Sarah Polk 1,985 3,664 5,649

So far, the low for the series (considering coins no longer available at the US Mint) remains as the 2008-W Uncirculated Louisa Adams coin at 4,223. This low will stand until at least 2010 since the Van Buren’s Liberty uncirculated coin has just surpassed this level.

Most of the sold out First Spouse Coins can be tracked down relatively easily. Prices are usually in the $600 to $700 range. The highest prices seem to be coming for the Andrew Jackson’s Liberty coin, which sells above this range. Top graded NGC and PCGS certified coins also drive an extra premium.

There has been a lot of thoughtful discussion about the future prospects for the First Spouse Gold Coins in terms of potential price appreciation. The main argument in favor of the series is the low mintage of many issues. In the past, coins which have been unpopular or overlooked while offered, became desirable rarities after sales ended and the low final mintage attracted new interest. The most notable example of this is the 1997-W Uncirculated Jackie Robinson $5 Gold Coin with a mintage of 5,174 coins. The value of the coin has risen from the initial $180 to more than $4,000 around $3,000.

Another argument in favor of the series is that it will experience renewed interest when better known First Spouses are honored. New collectors will enter the series, with some eventually deciding to seek out older low mintage issues of the series to issues to build a complete collection. There are actually two releases coming in 2010 which should be popular.

The James Buchanan’s Liberty coin will be released in the second half of the year. Since Buchanan never married, the obverse design will feature the image of Liberty from a circulating coin of his era. The CCAC has supported using the design from the Coronet Gold $2.50 Quarter Eagle. This will be the fourth and final coin in the “Liberty” subset of the First Spouse series, and the only one to feature a design from a classic gold coin. Also, the final release of 2010 will be the Mary Todd Lincoln Gold Coin. Coins related to Lincoln have always been popular with collectors and this coin together with the 2010 Lincoln Presidential Dollar should be popular.

Arguments against the series center around the limited popularity and low demand, which might always be the case despite the low mintages. Other gold coins with extremely low mintages, like the Jackie Robinson coin, were part the broader modern commemorative series. The mintage of 5,174 was extremely low when compared to other $5 gold commemorative coins, making it a standout for the entire series. In the case of the First Spouse Gold series, it seems likely that there will be numerous issues with mintages in the 4,000 to 5,000 range or lower. This might dampen some of the appeal of the low mintage coins since none of them will be a singular standout.

As a final consideration, prices of the coins are likely to remain heavily influenced by the price of gold. Each coin contains one-half ounce of gold, which currently represents the majority of the value for each coin. The rising price of gold obviously can work in favor of the series. The first three releases were originally offered at $410.95 and $429.95. Prices of the coins have increased, largely in line with the rise in the price of gold. If the price of gold falls, the opposite scenario would likely occur. The lower mintage coins may be more insulated against a changes in the price of gold, but would likely still be impacted.

Personally, I have been a buyer of the series, starting with the 2008 releases. I purchased most of the 2009 releases when prices were lower. I haven’t decided whether I will buy the upcoming Margaret Taylor coin when sales begin, or try to wait for a lower price.

I haven’t done a poll for a while, but this seems like a good subject for one. How will First Spouse Gold Coins Perform in the Future?

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  1. GoOgLyMoOgLy says

    It's one of those "after the fact" deals…people don't care about the coins now but once they become hard to find, THEN they'll go nuts about it. Then again, if GOLD goes to the moon, that won't matter, now would it :^_^:

  2. Anonymous says

    I think it will take a number of years, but eventually, I think the First Spouse series will pay off, big time.

    In the meantime, it is a good way to build up a collection of bullion-based coins as protection against inflation. If coins are acquired in proof and uncirculated, when completed, the series will constitute 39 ounces of .999 fine gold (maybe 40 if another spouse dies before 2016), which will have been bought over a long period of time in which the price of gold will have fluctuated over a wide range, in a kind of dollar cost averaging.

    Admittedly, the price of gold could (and hopefully will) go down, in which case the latter coins will become cheaper, while the current low mitages could provide some protection for the value of coins bought now.

    But the bottom line is: How wrong can you go, buying 39 ounces of gold?

  3. Anonymous says

    I'm still loyal to the First Spouse series. However, I don't think I'll be buying the Margaret Taylors just yet. I'll take my chances that the price of gold will come back down some. I'll have about one whole year to make up my mind.

    The reason I can wait is because I don't care about the "First Strike" designation. I don't even have the coins graded, but rather just leave them in their Mint issue state. I enjoy them more that way, and I don't want any third-party grader criticizing my coins. In most cases, raw coins sell for as much or more as coins graded "69" or less.

  4. Anonymous says

    Everyone thinks that price of gold will keep going up and up and up…

    If that's true, then the BEST time to buy these First Spouse coins is right now. Next week, the US Mint can raise prices if what people wishfully think actually happens….

  5. Anonymous says

    I think the Jackson Liberty already looks like a great classic.
    I agree with another who responded a while back that their will likely be greater interest in the Liberty subset with their old mint designs that only have been brought back out of the mint's archives to be stamped just a very few more times.

  6. kbsig106 says

    I plan on doing a 4 coin MS 70 Liberty set and stop. The rest have no "real" significance to me other than the gold value.

  7. Anonymous says

    Long term there maybe a big jump because of low mintages. Always buy what you like. Personally I would rather have one 09 buff than 3 spouses. If some extra ordinary event happens involving a spouse that could trigger a to the moon market move. Like for example if Laura Bush and Michelle Obama left their husbands to hook up with Madonna, A-Rod, Dennis Rodman, Patton Oswald, and Britney Spears in a commune then that might trigger a cataclysm in the market.

  8. Anonymous says

    I purchased several Martin Van Buren gold liberties as well as several gold Jackson Liberty coins (my personal favorite) and look forward to buying some James Buchanan gold coins. This sub set is likely to be a good choice for classic coin collectors.

    But please, don't buy on my account. I rather see them ignored. I like their low low mint numbers.


  9. Anonymous says

    They will not cancel the First Spouse series since these coins are mandated by law.

    Of course, Congress can always change the law…

  10. Anonymous says

    If I had the resources I might have considered collecting the Liberty subset of the spouse series. Can't get everything so I went with the buffalo.

  11. American Classic says

    Another subset of the First Spouses are those depicting he wives of Presidents on current US coins.

    So that means Mary Lincoln, Jefferson's Liberty, Eleanor Roosovelt, Martha Washington, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

    That would make an awesome set for the collector who wants all US Mint collectibles corresponding to the Lincoln penny, Jefferson nickle, Roosovelt dime, Washington quarter, and Kennedy half!

  12. Anonymous says

    You're right. It has been expected that the Mary Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacqueline Kennedy coins will be popular when they are released. They might also help revive interest in the series as a whole, allowing the coins presently being released to shine after all.

  13. Anonymous says

    I really like the Liberty subset as they are actually presidential coins and not presidential spouse coins. They have a very nice image of lady liberty from the times the president lived.

    As for Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Kennedy, I personally don't want to collect coins with the images of one insane/needy woman and two enablers of philanderers-in-chief. But hey, that's just me.

  14. Anonymous says

    Hey 6:18, maybe theres a demand for another subset that could be called the dysfunctional presidential family subset.

  15. Anonymous says

    I personally like the coins and have been collecting the whole set in NGC grade 70. Maybe crazy, maybe not. Gold itself will continue to rise so long as the feds keep printing money. When one stops so will the other. As for the 1st spouse coins, maybe it's wishful thinking but I believe once we get up to current day 1st ladies the whole will be much greater than the sum of the part. My recomendation would be to either collect all of them or none of them.

  16. Anonymous says

    The Mint has put up the details of the upcoming Margeret Taylor coins. It's funny that they still impose an ordering limit of 10 coins per product option per household. Do they honestly believe a fast sellout will be a problem? The coins are most certain to cost at least $754 and $741 for Proof and Uncirculated, respectively. Plus, the adoring masses haven't exactly been beating down the door to buy the First Spouse coins.

    It would kill me to pay that much for the coins, but if I don't buy them right away they might just keep going up!

  17. Anonymous says

    I don't understand why the CCAC would favor the liberty gold obverse over the much prettier Indian gold obverse (one dollar and three dollar gold) of the 1857 time period, for the James Buchanan first spouse gold design. The only reason I can think of is possibly some "PC" nonsense about how the "Indian princess" is not really Native American, but is lady liberty with a Native American headdress. The coronet liberty obverse is not a pretty design in my opinion. It was also too widely used in the coinage of that time period, being used on the half cent, cent, and the higher denomination gold coinage (quarter eagle on up).

  18. Anonymous says

    I have sold some gold proof eagles since their price is throught the roof. And.. invested it in some 2008 /2009 first spouses . At the end got more gold for the money and maybe a chance for more future appretiation.

  19. Heathcliff says

    Love and own Jefferson's Liberty but can't get excited about any of the other Liberty designs (especially the seated lib, probably the most boring US coin design), but will be a big buyer of the Coronet design next year. Wanted to like the Jackson design but the mint blew that too; they should have used the $5 capped-bust not the half-dollar design.

  20. Anonymous says

    My feeling is if your going to collect the set do it right, buy graded PCGS or NGC only in a 70 grade, a perfect set. I have the entire set in PCGS Proof 70 and plan to continue buying it as long as I can afford to. I was buying it as NGC but the PCGS is appreciating faster so I changed to that. As for First Strike, I think it is the biggest B.S. desgnation ever, but there seems to be plenty of people willing to pay a huge premium for it so I went with the FIRST STRIKE coins. If this set is anything like the state quarter set a complete set could be worth 4-5 times its cost to build when complete. Taking into consideration the much lower mintage numbers for the spouses their potential will probably be many times greater. Maybe I am hoping big but this set could potentially be the best inbvestment I have ever made. A NGC silver PF70 state quarter set costs over $10,000 today and could have been assembled for about $2000 if bought as they were released. At current prices my spouse set would cost about $30,000 to complete if it quadruples I'll have a $120,000 set. AM I DREAMING???? I don't think so!!

  21. Anonymous says

    I wonder if the mintage created will be enough for the Jackie Kennedy First Spouse gold Coin when it is issued. There will probably be many ladies interested in obtaining this coin.

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First Spouse Gold Coin Sales Figures

The First Spouse Gold Coins continue to be the only gold coins on sale at the US Mint besides the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, which is limited to one per household. Despite being the “only game in town” sales continue to move higher at a very slow pace.

Since I last examined the sales figures for the series, the numbers have crept higher for three issues and the Anna Harrison coin has gone on sale. The italicized lines indicate coins that are still currently for sale at the US Mint.

First Spouse Gold Coin Sales History
Unc Proof Total
Martha Washington 20,000 20,000 40,000
Abigail Adams 20,000 20,000 40,000
Jefferson’s Liberty 20,000 20,000 40,000
Dolley Madison 12,541 18,355 30,896
Elizabeth Monroe 4,519 7,933 12,452
Louisa Adams 3,509 6,233 9,742
Jackson’s Liberty 3,879 6,850 10,729
Van Buren’s Liberty 3,080 5,669 8,749
Anna Harrison 1,983 3,993 5,976

Sales figures that would be surprisingly low for other series have become somewhat expected for the First Spouse Gold series. Just before the Elizabeth Monroe coin went off sale at the US Mint, I had written a post noting that the uncirculated version would have the lowest mintage for any modern gold coin issued by the US Mint. Despite this fact, the coins have not seemed to catch much excitement on the secondary market.

While the supply of the coins on the market appears to be very low- there are only two coins currently listed on eBay– the demand for the coins remains equally low, keeping prices at reasonable levels. Collectors may also be justifiably expecting even lower mintages from future issues of the series. This is supported by sales trends which suggest all current coins might fall beneath the low bar set by the Elizabeth Monroe coin sales numbers. The question may be, how low can mintages go?

Collectors considering the First Spouse Gold Coin series should be aware of two near term events. First, the price of the coins will likely increase this week. Under the US Mint’s current pricing policy, if the average London Fix price of gold from last Thursday AM to this Wednesday PM falls into the $900 to $949.99 range prices for the coins will move to the next tier. The current prices of $591 for uncirculated and $604 would be increased to $614 and $629.

The second near term event is the impending end of sales for the Louisa Adams First Spouse Gold Coins. These coins first went on sale May 29, 2008. The US Mint keeps First Spouse coins on sale for approximately one year or until the maximum authorized mintage is met. The uncirculated coin has only sold 3,509 coins. If the final sales number remains under 4,000, will this be enough to start drawing interest from collectors?

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  1. Anonymous says

    I hope the Mint draws the proper conclusion – that many of these coins’ sales suffer from terrible art and composition, particularly on the reverse (much too busy and often downright “hokey”) – though the obverse of the Harrison coin is dreadful as well. Strong, attractive design is what will drive collectors!

  2. Tom Maloney says

    I agree with the anonymous poster who commented on the ‘poverty of design’ of these so-called collectibles.

    I don’t believe a strong secondary market will ever develop for this crap.

    The mint should focus on bullion and proof versions of the American Eagle and Buffalo coins. That is where the demand is, and where the profit is, too.

    If they must make these spouse coins, they should be minted out of the same dross that the presidential dollars are made of, and circulate freely along side them – that is if the public will actually ever use them.

  3. Anonymous says

    I disagree with the notion that a strong secondary market will never develop for these coins. Regardless of their artistic merit, at some point within the next handful of years, the shear rarity of the sub 5,000 mintage coins will become relevent to collectors and premiums will rise. Just my humble opinion which I am backing with my wallet.

  4. Anonymous says

    Me too. You pretty much can’t go wrong with coins made of pure gold. The extremely low mintage for some of these is just icing on the cake.

    There’s little if any doubt that the Louisa Adams Uncirculated coin WILL have a mintage under 4,000. My guess is it will finish in the 3,700-3,800 range.

  5. Anonymous says

    Remember the Postal Gold from 1980 to 1984–the first spouse coins are the premium priced versions of same. What did Postal Gold go for vs. Spot?

  6. Anonymous says

    The Postal Gold comparison is waaayyyyy off the mark. Those were medals. Were never monitized. The collector base for gold medals is way smaller than the collector base for gold coins. Not even close to being an analogous situation. But if you think so, there is an easy soluction. Just don’t buy the Gold Spouses.

  7. Tom Maloney says

    OK, I’ll concede that there are some folks who would want to collect these ‘rare’ coins … but, in just about all cases, I would prefer to buy more gold with my dollars.

    Just make sure you get these hot ladies slabbed to make them even more rare and collectible.

    I await the high and holy PCGS and NGS population reports on these dubious dubloons! What a bargain!

  8. Anonymous says

    “The Postal Gold comparison is waaayyyyy off the mark. Those were medals. Were never monitized. The collector base for gold medals is way smaller than the collector base for gold coins. Not even close to being an analogous situation. But if you think so, there is an easy soluction. Just don’t buy the Gold Spouses.”

    Monetized? Since when does gold have to be monetized by the mint to have value. In retrospect, I believe I was being unfair to the Postal gold for comparing it to the Spouse coins; I think the Postal coins are a much better value. Tom is right–slab da girlz and pay even more for the rarity! 🙂

  9. Anonymous says

    Artistically, the First Spounse “coins” suck, but I really don’t see much downside risk as long as (a) the mint sells the coins at close to bullion value, and (b) the price of gold does not go down.

    As far as upside goes, it depends on the fads of the future, and those are anyone’s guess.

  10. Anonymous says

    Most of these coins are hideous and there will never be much of a secondary market for the ugly coins, regardless of the mintages.
    These mandated by law coins are wasting production capabilty and raw material that could be used to produce Proof Gold Eagles or Buffalos that would easily sell,even at todays prices.

  11. Anonymous says

    From what I gather the Arts gold were relatively high mintage compared to the current spouse coins.

    However the spouse coins could trade as any other coin series, where the lowest mintage coins have high premiums and most of them have a low premium if any at all.

    The problem with the series is the high cost for a complete set, 39 coins at spot gold is over $17,500 dollars and that is not adding in the mint premium. If some of the lowest mintage coins go for a decent multiple then the total set cost could be $30,000.

    I think that will hold down the potential of the set and since many collectors today are older males do they really want to collect a set that resembles their mother-in-law?

    It would seem the numbers are getting low but if gold keeps climbing in price then fewer will be sold perhaps.

  12. Anonymous says

    Whether some of these coins are “ugly” or not, I don’t think it will matter very much WHAT they look like in the long run. This is a lengthy series of coins. Remember that all-important key word there: SERIES. It is human nature to try to get every item in a series. Several years from now, when the gold coins for first ladies that our generation is more familiar with or even remembers when they were alive are being minted and sold, human nature will kick in and collectors are going to take a shot at assembling a complete set of these coins. That’s when the current lack of demand will come back to haunt future collectors, because there simply aren’t going to be very many of some of these coins to be had. Elizabeth Monroe has already mandated that no more than 4,519 complete sets of Uncirculated coins can ever be assembled, and Louisa Adams is about to further reduce that number down to a paltry 3,700-3,800 sets. The way it looks now, that number will be reduced even further in 2009 or beyond. How low it will ultimately go is anyone’s guess.

    Later, when one of the extremely low mintage coins DOES show up for sale in an auction, it will only take two people who want it (and have deep enough pockets) to drive the price sky high.

    Surely everyone has noticed the way that most items no one seemed to want when they were available later become very hot once the secondary market is the only option for acquiring them. That crazy phenomenon seems to repeat itself over and over again! I don’t see this series being much different in the future.

    If you have the dough, it wouldn’t hurt to have some of these low-mintage coins hanging around. No matter what happens, they will always be worth their weight in gold. But, they could also provide some nice premiums in a few years.

  13. Anonymous says

    I like ’em. Ok Martha may look a bit dowdy,but hey it’s the Nation’s
    First Lady. The old classic flowing hair Libery obverse for the Jeff looks terrific. I think it’s cool to see such a neat historic design being pulled out of the archives and being used only 20,000 more times,and the Jack is even cooler, the obverse is terrific and the General on his horse is a pretty impressive design as well. I would howevere concede that most of the other designs are not too remarkable. But hey, mabey if more women were to be come aware of these coins it might eventually attract a greater secondary market interest.

  14. Jay says

    I think Louisa Adams is the only good one so far besides the Liberty ones. There will probably be others too. Jackie Kennedy will probably sell out, but that’s about it. If Jackson’s Liberty is going to stay low, then I don’t see too many even coming close to a sell out. I think Jackson’s Liberty in proof is one of the nicest coins I have ever had. This is just my opinion of course. I will get the ones I like which have only been the Liberty ones so far.
    I do agree that the Mint should start using this gold for Eagles and Buffalos. And where’s the Platinum coins? There’s no bullion or proofs. They’re not satisfying anyones demand, guess the Mint just can’t get any??

  15. Anonymous says

    I have to say that I like this series. I am collecting the uncirculated coins. Being a history teacher it is interesting to see women as a primary focus on something so valuable. We never show the great woman behind the president. I have actually used these coins to take time out and read about each first wife. They have done some incredible things. I use my part time job to help pay for these coins. Being in my late thirties I have concluded that these coins will make my grandchildren very happy one day. I hope that each of you will try and find a new point of view in which to view these coins. Good luck to all.


  16. Anonymous says

    How many people have any collection of 39 gold coins?

    Of all the gold coins to collect would this be the first one they pick?

    I don’t think so.

  17. Anonymous says

    “it will only take two people who want it (and have deep enough pockets) to drive the price sky high.”

    It is all about fleabay!

  18. suppie says

    I have collected all the coins so for. I have had the last one on order for over a month and still get the message of in stock and reserved. You would think with them selling so badly the mint could get it out quicker. It is only about 3 weeks before the next one comes out

  19. Anonymous says

    10 years from now… most of ‘the spouses’ will trade at or near spot.

    15 years from now… ‘the spouses’ will be the ‘most melted’ gold coins in U.S. Mint history.

    25 years from now… numismatic prices will skyrocket for the few thousand remaining examples of each.

    30 years from now… the U.S. Mint, finally feeling completely vindicated in producing ‘the spouses’, will announce the Presidential Mistress series of platinum coins.

  20. Anonymous says

    I would like to see the jefferson spouse coin reminted with a likeness of his “alleged” black slave mistress, after all wouldn’t she be considered a common law wife by today’s standards… I’m sure that this remint would be a sell out coin…

  21. Anonymous says

    Check out eBay for someone’s custom-made “Presidential Dollar and First Spouse Medal Set” for Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress. It fetches about $50.

  22. Anonymous says

    Sometime this afternoon, the Mint changed the release date for the Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coins from June 4th to July 1st.

    I wonder if they will still pull the Louisa Adams coins off-sale on June 4th as originally planned, or if they plan to milk one more month of sales out of those. If they do, they will violate their own policy of only selling the coins for one year. Technically they should have been pulled off-sale today, 5/29. That is the true one-year mark.

    I guess it isn’t the first time the Mint changed the rules in the middle of the game. I’m sure it won’t be the last time, either.

  23. Anonymous says


    in 2009 the UHR eagle took all the news. So if somebody wanted to buy a proof half ounce american gold coin that was monetized, the only way to get one was with the gold spouse series.

    Ugly or not, the rarity will keep the prices relatively higher even if bullion falls. Look at the jackie robinson 5 dollar commem bu. The way it is looking right now, there will 2 or 3 with mintages lower than the jackie robinson. If people knew what the Jacjie BU would be worth today back then. . .It wouldn't be worth it today.

  24. Phillip says

    The ones without the bonnets are babes! So beauty can't be the issue. The premium is the same as a buffalo. The historical significance is high. Really interesting reading about them all. Sort of makes the point that women didn't even have the right to vote for about 1/2 our presidents, with the suffrage coin not coming until midway. Then there is the liberty subset and interest in the more famous spouses. We've all heard about the presidents, but what does it take to make first spouse? Fascinating! So what's the problem with the numismats — sexism?

  25. Anonymous says

    My thoughts on the first spouse gold coins is rather simple. With the recession in play and no end in sight, paying for the coins seems to be a daunting task for even the seasoned collector. As the recession worsens, people just do not have the money to put towards 1 coin must less 44 of them all costing 700 dollars or more. That said, to collect all the coins you can imagine the total cost in the end….ALOT!! With the decreased sales from 1 series to the next fewer and fewer seem to be selling. That means for those who have collected all of the coins not only have a hugh in terms of the dollars spent, they are also sitting on a VERY, Very valuable set sure to be well worth more than its own weight in gold…Some say the artistry is no good, i happen to think that they are all beautiful coins each in theeir own way…If all of them were the same how boring would that be…So, to sum it all up…I think that if one does collect all the coins (NONE MISSING) it will indeed be the most valuable mordern coin series that the mint inadvertently ever produce…I am no genius here…Just using common sense!!

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First Spouse Gold Coin Sales Figures

It’s been some time since I examined the most recent sales figures and mintages for the First Spouse Gold Coins. For some collectors, this series has moved off the radar, but it might be time to give the series a second look.

The First Spouse Gold Coin series initially started off strong. The first three coins sold out within less than one day and secondary market prices for the coins spiked. Subsequent releases did not generate the same amount of interest and the premiums for the first three coins quickly receded. Starting with the fourth release, the First Spouse Coins have showed a pattern of declining sales figures, which briefly broken by Andrew Jackson’s Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin.

The latest sales figures for all releases are presented below. The coins which are still on sale are shown in italics.

Unc Proof
Martha Washington 20,000 20,000
Abigail Adams 20,000 20,000
Jefferson’s Liberty 20,000 20,000
Dolley Madison 12,541 18,355
Elizabeth Monroe 4,519 7,933
Louisa Adams 3,215 5,749
Jackson’s Liberty 3,519 6,180
Van Buren’s Liberty 2,773 5,078

The US Mint has stated that they will produce and sell each First Spouse Gold Coin until the coins have sold out or for approximately one year from the release date. In practice, it seems like the US Mint is removing the oldest coin as new coins are released. Most recently, when the Martin Van Buren’s Liberty coin was released, sales of the Dolley Madison coin ended.

Today the US Mint will release the Anna Harrison First Spouse Coin. To coincide with the new release, they will likely stop selling the Elizabeth Monroe coins. The coins initially went on sale February 28, 2008, so it will be just over a year. Baring a sales surge in the closing days, the Elizabeth Monroe Uncirculated Coin seems likely to have mintage of less than 5,000.

I can’t recall any modern gold coin with a mintage this low. The closest is the 1997-W Uncirculated Jackie Robinson Gold Commemorative which had a mintage of 5,174. This coin currently sells for a considerable premium. Will the low mintage give collectors a newfound appreciation for the Elizabeth Monroe First Spouse Gold Coin?

It’s possible, but I would add the caveat that mintages below 5,000 might actually become commonplace for the First Spouse series. Each of the uncirculated versions of the coins currently for sale remain below this level. Looking ahead, the 2009 releases might end up with even lower mintages. The coins feature relatively lesser known figures, the price of gold remains high, and there seems to be very little collector interest in the series. This will be an interesting situation to watch as the series progresses.

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  1. limalo says

    The Mint shot itself in the foot with this series with the initial Martha Washington coin. When the Martha Washington was released, there was no per person limit on purchases. This meant that the big dealers and the few insiders who knew when the first day was were the only ones who were able to get the first coin in the series. Once people realized they could not get the first of the series, they lost interest in the whole series because they could never get the complete set at the opening price.

    Later coins were offered with a per person limit which limited how many the big dealers and insiders could purchase. This limited sales on coins after the first three.

    Had the per person limit been in effect on the Washington coin, many more collectors would have been able to start the series. This would have resulted in more people trying to build the complete collection and would have resulted in more coins being sold as new coins were released.

    I am actually an example of this. I was able to purchase the John Adams spouse coin and the Jefferson’s liberty coin. When I realized I had lost out on my Martha Washington coin because others were allowed to order larger numbers of them, I decided I would no longer purchase the series. I then used my limited gold purchase funds for bullion coins or other interesting coins rather than the First Spouse series. I believe there may be other people who felt the same way.

    Incidentally, I entered an order for the Martha Washington coin as early as the second day it was offered. It was initially showing as backordered but it eventually was cancelled by the Mint as the coin was sold out. Had there been a limit on the number people could order initially, there would have been enough to fill my order. This experience soured me on the series once I realized what had happened.

    I think if the Mint wanted to rekindle interest in this series, they should offer an additional number of the Martha Washington coins for sale with a strict per person limit. This would allow people to get the initial coin and spark interest in trying to complete the series.

    Of course, this is just a theory of mine based on my own experience. There may be no validity to this theory at all.

  2. Anonymous says

    It may also be that the “First Spouse” is just not a popular topic. It would be helpful to the series if we could attract many more female numismatistas. The average coin collector is male with a primary motive of profit, not commemorative sentiments and emotions.

  3. Anonymous says

    I have been collecting the uncirculated set since the begining. I think at first the flippers are what turned off buyers. I still would like to know the real number of coins that are out there for the Jefferson gold coins. I believe one company melted a bunch of them when gold hit above a $1000. I think the economy has delt this series a blow and the huge mark-up. In the begining the mark-up was less above the spot price of gold.

    David T

  4. limalo says

    The First Spouse series is sort of reminiscent of the Mint’s Arts Medallion Gold Bullion series from 1980 to 1984. That series never quite sparked the interest of the public like it looked like it might at the beginning. Many more of the early ones were sold than the later ones. By the end of the series, there were some that sold less than 40,000 coins as opposed to 400,000 or more for the early ones.

    As David T. suggests for Jefferson’s Liberty, many of the coins (medallions) of the Art Series were melted down as gold reached prices that far exceeded the initial prices of the coins. The remaining numbers of the Arts Medallion series are far less in some cases than the numbers that were sold by the Mint. This could also be the case for some of the First Spouse coins, especially those that were sold early at lower prices. It would be interesting to know what the existing population of each coin is.

  5. Michael says

    Regarding the melting- in March 2008, CW ran an article that stating SilverTowne melted between 5,000 and 7,000 Martha Washington and Louisa Adams plus an “unspecified” number of Thomas Jefferson.

    So potentially a single firm removed perhaps 10% of the mintage. On top of that, there must have been others.

  6. Anonymous says

    >>I think if the Mint wanted to rekindle interest in this series, they should offer an additional number of the Martha Washington coins for sale with a strict per person limit. This would allow people to get the initial coin and spark interest in trying to complete the series.<<

    Several Martha Washington coins are available on eBay at a considerable discount to what the Mint is charging for current First Spouse coins.

  7. Brad says

    As far as what “limalo” said about collectors basically being “shut-out” of getting a collection of the series started by the quick sell-out of the Martha Washington coin to speculators (despite what he said, there WAS a limit of 5 coins each, Proof and Unc, per household), I don’t really think that has any bearing on the series’ current lack of popularity. While that was likely true to some extent in the beginning, both the Martha Washington and Abigail Adams coins could even recently be had at or near the original U.S. Mint sales price on eBay. Even now, all of the sold out First Spouse coins can be bought on eBay for less than the current U.S. Mint price level for those coins that are still on sale. The fact that a large number of the first three coins were sold mostly to those who had no real interest in them, but rather only wanted to make a quick profit, is the only reason there were 20,000 of each finish sold in the first place.

    It’s true that several thousand of the early First Spouse designs were melted in the spring of 2008, but no one knows for sure how many of each design no longer exist. There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of those coins available on eBay though, so it appears that it hasn’t had an impact as yet.

    However, the Elizabeth Monroe coin did indeed go off-sale today, locking in the paltry sales figures it has posted over the past year. Because of that, no matter how many of the later designs might be sold, there can only be as many complete sets of the entire series assembled as the Monroe coins will allow. It appears extremely likely that Louisa Adams will post a new mintage low for the series when it goes off sale in around three more months, but my guess is that the two Liberty designs will eventually pass both Monroe and Adams in sales levels.

    2009 is shaping up to be a paltry sales year for the First Spouse coins. The high gold spot price (combined with the fact that there are FIVE coins this year instead of the usual four) looks extremely likely to keep sales very low.

    While it’s true that currently the series is not that popular, one thing to keep in mind is that it tends to be human nature to be a completist. This is a long series of coins, and future collectors will probably like to have the complete set, despite the fact that some of the spouses are virtually unknown. Because of the low supply of some coins (and the fact that the set can’t be complete without them), there is bound to be some fighting over the miniscule supply in years to come.

  8. Ben says

    I can’t believe how easily limalo was discouraged from buying the First Spouse series after being shut out by the hysteria over the Martha Washington issue. I tried to order the first coin on the first day and after being shut out by the Mint’s notoriously problematic website, I gave up on it.

    So I watched the prices on eBay and after a while, predictably, the prices plunged and I picked up the coins I needed at reasonable prices. If you go to eBay right now and search for “Martha, Spouse” you’ll find over 50 opportunities to order the first coin in the series.

    Now that a person can buy the coins from the Mint without the single-coin order limits, I’ve built a pair of complete NGC graded sets, MS70 and PF70.

    The Mint would be insane to come out with a new offering of Martha Washington coins. The mintage limit was reached. If they ignore that then they’ll loose what little (if any) public trust they have left. The limit was set, the coins were sold, now the coins are available in the secondary market at not much over melt value.

  9. Ben says

    “In practice, it seems like the US Mint is removing the oldest coin as new coins are released.”

    Looking at the Mint website today, Anna Harrison has been added and Elizabeth Monroe is no longer available.

  10. Keith says

    My gut feeling is that these coins will act more like bullion and trade with spot prices rather than true collectible pieces.

    I think that very few people are going to have the resources to obtain a complete set. Especially since the Mint charges nearly double what the coin is worth by the time they add the unnecessary “special collectible” wooden box and tag the collector for at least 15% profit on top of all that.

    The set might have had a better chance if legislation had called for a 1/4 ounce coin rather than the 1/2 ounce coin. The 1/4 ounce is more affordable and commemorative coin collectors are more familiar with this size of coin.

    Lastly, I love this series, because the Mint is mandated to make it, no matter what. In both proof and uncirculated, no matter what. The Mint has had the authority to produce 99.99% pure gold coins for over a decade, but refused to make them. After much prodding by Congress to no avail, Congress finally mandated the $50 Buffalo and the First Spouse series.

  11. limalo says

    Thanks to Brad, Ben, and Anonymous for the advice about obtaining the early First Spouse coins on eBay. I’ll be sure to check it out.

    Apparently, I was wrong about the limits on the initial sales. From what I gather, the limit was five originally, then it became one, and now either 10 or no limit depending on who you believe.

    Anyway, thanks for the lead on the possibility of getting coins on eBay.

  12. Anonymous says

    An Uncirculated Elizabeth Monroe gold coin sold for $711.01 on eBay today. It didn’t take long after the coin went off-sale at the Mint for it to go for a premium.

    If these coins continue to go for a greater premium now, that could spur sales for the remaining 2008 coins. However, if too many more of those sell at the Mint, then the Louisa Adams and Liberty’s will be robbed of what made the Monroe more collectible: Low mintage!

  13. Anonymous says

    As I was fretting on getting my UHR eagle (which is still in process and I ordered during the 1st 2hrs) I ordered a Jacksons liberty (the next coin I needed)and although it should be available it still hasnt shipped. the bank held the amount for awhile then it dropped off the radar and the Jacksons liberty is still in process. I cancelled when the price reduced then ordered again at the lower price. Guess the Mint is bottle-necked in the packaging and shipping process that results in the delays. they need more manpower or OT.
    The spouses will be the forgotten collection that will be avoided by either cost or lost interest, but in the long run…

  14. The Yankee says

    I'm thinking that the Mint should have more closely integrated the Spouse Medals with the Presidential coins hence creating a much larger set once completed. Maybe even had some sets where each Prez & his Spouse were presented in some sort of box or something?

    For this reason I purchase the "Bronze" editions. In theory it just might be a good addition to the completed Prez series (not to mention I can't afford the Gold versions).

    This might be something to consider if you're collecting these medals in any of the mediums offered. It could be one of those "Sleeper" sets. Never know.

    ~The Yankee~

  15. Anonymous says

    Hi, I am wondering if this series is going to end up being the only gold fractionals available from the mint be cause of the high demand and low availability of blanks? I am new to coin collecting and have been reading a fair amount about this and simply wonder of this possibility.
    Thanks for all of the good information!

  16. ctnaz says

    These will be the only fractional gold coins for the immediate future. I wish I could afford both the proof and uncirculated versions, but money has limited me to just one. So I opted for the proofs since I just like their appearance more. That being said, the lower mintages of the uncirculated versions sill will likely make them more valuable down the road.

    2009 may result in even lower sales due to the economy, the high price of gold, the fact that there will be five new releases rather than the normal four, and many collectors are spending $1200 or more on the UHR $20 gold piece. My gut feeling is that you can’t really go too wrong purchasing these coins. As the economy gets back towards normal, the US will likely see inflation and that along with greater demand for gold in India and China, could push gold towards $1500 per ounce. This is, of coarse, is only speculation, but there are a number of analysts that are forecasting this scenerio.

    As for the coins presently available, both the Jackson and Van Buren Liberties are beautiful coins. I will be tracking the LME fix gold prices for future purchases trying to aquire future gold coins at cheaper prices.

  17. Anonymous says

    I went to a dealer to buy some gold coins for investment only. He had 4 Adams and 1 Washington that he sold me for the current gold price of 1050 ounce. Did I get lucky or is that about the current value.

  18. Anonymous says

    Keep an eye on the gold price. The first spouse gold coins may be “reasonable” if the market gold price continues to climb. With the gov’t printing so much money they can only manipulate gold prices for so long before inflation and worldwide demand take over. The spouse coins are not my favorites but its the only collectable gold from the mint for now and possibly the year if the economy continues to go to crap. It wouldn’t suprise me if they end up suspending the spouse gold coins in the near future.

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First Spouse Gold Coin Mintages

The once popular First Spouse Gold Coin series may be seeing an upswing with its latest offering for Andrew Jackson’s Liberty Coin.

Followers of the series will remember that the first three releases for Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty sold out in less than one day. Popularity seemed to fizzle with the next release for Dolley Madison. The next two releases showed a declining sales trend. The latest coin may finally break the trend.

Andrew Jackson’s Liberty has sold a combined 5,924 coins since the release on August 28. The prior release for Louisa Adams has sold a combined 7,177. This coin was released on May 29. While Jackson’s coin is still about 1,200 behind, it seems likely that sales will eventually surpass Louisa Adams.

The Andrew Jackson coin may be driving more sales since the obverse is based on the classic Capped Bust Lettered Edge Half Dollar design. This design was used because President Jackson served without a spouse. Under the authorizing legislation for the program, in this situation the coin will bear the Liberty image used on circulating coinage from the President’s term. The last release of the series to fall into this situation was Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty which used the design from the Draped Bust Half Cent.

The table below shows the full sales/mintage figures for all releases of the First Spouse Gold Coin Series through September 17.

Unc Proof Combined
Martha Washington 20,000 20,000 40,000
Abigail Adams 20,000 20,000 40,000
T. Jefferson’s Liberty 20,000 20,000 40,000
Dolley Madison 12,038 18,040 30,078
Elizabeth Monroe 4,186 7,217 11,403
Louisa Adams 2,623 4,554 7,177
A. Jackson’s Liberty 2,213 3,711 5,924
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  1. Jacob says

    Wow it sure looks like the first spouse coins are not getting sold this year. Demand for them has drop a lot.

  2. Anonymous says

    That’s because this is an incredibly lame series. Who cares? It’s political correctness and lack of artistic ideology run amok, again.

    The irony is that the only designs of any interest are the bachelor presidents, because they resurrect classic 19th century obverse designs; probably most people’s only chance to own pristine examples in gold, even if they are fantasies.

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First Spouse Gold Coin Sales Figures

With gold once again on the move, it’s time to take another look at the First Spouse Gold Coin series.

The US Mint currently has three First Spouse Gold Coins available for sale. This includes the final issue of 2007 honoring Dolley Madison and the first two issues of 2008 featuring Elizabeth Monroe and Louisa Adams. Check out the Mint’s website here.

The Dolley Madison coins are priced surprisingly close to the value of the gold content at $509.95 and $529.95 for the uncirculated and proof version, respectively. Each coin contains one-half ounce of gold. Based on today’s spot price of gold, the coin premium is less than 4% for the uncirculated version.

The Elizabeth Monroe and Louisa Adams coins are priced at $619.95 and $599.95 for the uncirculated and proof versions, respectively. This higher pricing may be part of the reason for the slack sales.

The maximum authorized mintage for each of the First Spouse coins has been set at 40,000.

Here is a full table of the First Spouse Gold Sales Figures as of July 10, 2008 from Numismaster.

Unc Proof Total
2007 Dolley Madison 11,517 17,785 29,302
2008 Elizabeth Monroe 4,087 7,018 11,105
2008 Louisa Adams 2,264 3,914 6,178
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  1. Anonymous says

    A couple of questions:

    How long can a coin like the Louisa Adams Unc stay on sale by the Mint–is there any limit, or could they keep it on for many years–it does not appear that it will sell out at this point? If they can, is there any chance the price will drop–have they ever had a “clearance” sale?

    Are there any mintage figures are the bronze versions of the first spouse coins?

    Thanks for your great source of information~!

  2. Michael says

    The only known limit on the First Spouse Gold coins is the maximum authorized mintage, which has been 40,000 for each coin. I haven’t been able to find any info on how long the Mint can continue selling the coins in terms of years.

    The only possibility for a price drop would be if the price of gold declines substantially. The Mint has not offered any reduced prices for circumstances other than this.

    I haven’t come across any figures for the bronze medals. These can be minted to demand with no maximum mintage.

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