Today, December 1, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of the Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Gold Coins. Both proof and uncirculated versions of the one half ounce 24 karat gold coins will be available.
The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Lucretia Garfield designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The inscriptions include her name, order of the Presidency, the year, “In God We Trust”, “Liberty”, the date, and mint mark. The reverse features an image of the First Lady painting on a canvas with a brush and palette in hand to represent her interest in art. Inscriptions include “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, “$10”, “1/2 oz.”, and “.9999 fine gold”. The reverse was designed and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso.
Pricing for the Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Gold Coins will be $1,029 for the proof version and $1,016 for the uncirculated version. These prices are based on an average price of gold within the $1,700 to $1,749.99 range. The price levels may be adjusted weekly based on changes in the price of gold.
The maximum mintage has been established at 15,000 across both proof and uncirculated offerings. No issues of the series have managed to sell the maximum mintage since 2007, when the bar was actually set higher at 40,000. Since then, all issues have remained available for approximately one year or a shorter time period due to early sell outs. The 2010-dated issues sold a low of 8,176 across both versions of the Jane Pierce coin to a high of 12,652 across both versions of the James Buchanan’s Liberty coin.
The Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Coin will mark the fourth and final release of the series for this year. Although it honors the spouse for the 20th Presidency, it will actually mark the 21st release for the series overall. Collectors who have been acquiring one example of each coin will now have 10.5 troy ounces of gold worth around $18,375 based on the precious metal content alone. Collectors who have been collecting both proof and uncirculated versions of each coin will have 21 troy ounces of gold worth $36,750 based on metal value. Since many issues of the series have historically low mintages and command premiums, the actual value of a collection is even higher.
The CFA and CCAC recently reviewed design candidates for next year’s First Spouse Gold Coins featuring Alice Paul, Frances Cleveland, Caroline Harrison, and Frances Cleveland (again). You can view all of the design candidates in this recent Coin Update article.