The release of the 2009 Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin will mark the end of the month-long dry spell for US Mint products. The coins will go on sale July 2, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will be the second of five releases for the First Spouse coin series during 2009.
The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Letitia Tyler, designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The reverse features a scene of Letitia Tyler and two of her children on Cedar Grove Plantation. She had supervised the operation of the 1,200 acre plantation, allowing her husband to focus on his political career. The reverse was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Norman E. Nemeth.
The Letitia Tyler First Spouse Coin will contain one-half ounce of 24-karat gold. Coins will be available in uncirculated or proof, with both versions produced at the West Point Mint. The maximum authorized mintage will be 40,000 coins across both options. The US Mint has not announced any ordering limits, however the last release carried an initial household limit of 10 coins per option.
Pricing for the coins will be determined under the US Mint’s pricing policy for gold and platinum numismatic products. If the average London Fix price of gold from last Thursday to this coming Wednesday falls within the $900-$949.99 range, then the proof coins would be priced at $629.00 and the uncirculated coins would be priced at $616.00. If the average price of gold falls within a higher or lower $50 tier, the prices of the coins would be adjusted by $25 for each increment.
A bronze medal featuring the same design, less some inscriptions, will be released at the same time. The medals are priced at $3.50, with no household ordering limit.
When the Letitia Tyler coins go on sale, it is expected that sales of the Louisa Adams coins will end. The Louisa Adams First Spouse Coins originally went on sale May 29, 2008. The US Mint has stated that First Spouse coins will remain on sale for approximately one year or until the maximum authorized mintage has been sold. In this case, “approximately one year” will be stretched beyond 13 months, trying the patience of some collectors.
After sales of the Louisa Adams coin officially end, collectors will be able to determine if this coin represents the new mintage low for the series. The most recent sales figures for the Louisa Adams coins show 4,214 uncirculated coins and 6,931 proof coins sold. These levels are still below the low mintage leader for coins that are no longer available. This is the Elizabeth Monroe coin with 4,519 uncirculated coins and 7,933 proof coins sold.
As the popularity of the First Spouse series has declined, some have been watching for the low point of the series. Low mintage gold coins have often attracted attention after the fact, creating new demand for the coins and driving secondary market prices higher. On the other hand, some have argued that the First Spouse series is different than other gold series, and will never attract this additional demand. This topic has been debated frequently in the comments of other posts on the First Spouse Gold Coin series.
On a separate note, I will be leaving on a three week vacation this afternoon. While I am away, I plan to continue posting to Mint News Blog, although there may be some gaps and some posts may be less timely than usual. Please stay on board during this period, and feel free to post any breaking news over on Coin Network to keep the discussion going!