The United States Mint has posted the release dates for three of the five 2013 First Spouse Gold Coins. These coins were previously reported as delayed due to striking problems, which followed a late design review phase.
Last year collectors of the series were faced with a similar delay after production problems were encountered. Rather than an initial release in March followed by subsequent releases spaced at approximately three month intervals, all four of the year’s coins were released in rapid success in the final quarter of the year. The 2012-dated coins had release dates of October 11, 2012 (Alice Paul), November 15, 2012 (Frances Cleveland), December 6, 2012 (Caroline Harrison), and December 20, 2012 (Frances Cleveland).
This year there will be a total of five different releases since Woodrow Wilson had both a first and second wife while serving in office. This greater number of coins will be compressed into an even smaller window of time, which may strain some collector budgets.
The designs for the 2013-dated coins were initially reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee in March 2013. After both panels rejected all of the design candidates for the Edith Wilson coin, an expanded slate of candidates was reviewed in April. Four months later in August, the final design selections of the Treasury Secretary were announced.
In September, it was revealed that the release of the coins was being delayed due to a production problem known as “finning”. When the coins are pressed excess metal can build up on the edges and cause an effect referred to as “bottle-capping.” At the time, the US Mint expressed confidence that the issue could be resolved.
Yesterday, the US Mint finally posted the release dates for the first three of the 2013 First Spouse Gold Coins. The release dates are November 14, 2013 (Ida McKinley), November 21, 2013 (Edith Roosevelt), and December 2, 2013 (Helen Taft). These dates range from 7 to 10 days apart and leave less than 30 days for the final two releases of the year featuring Ellen Wilson and Edith Wilson.
At this point, the series seems to have receded in popularity to a core group of collectors motivated to see the series through to its completion. Early sell outs in 2011 had produced some surprising new mintage lows, but even with the compressed schedule in 2012, sales figures haven’t pushed much lower.
The US Mint has previously indicated a maximum mintage of 10,000 pieces for each of the 2013 First Spouse Gold Coins across both proof and uncirculated versions. This is reduced from the stated maximum mintage of 13,000 pieces for each of the 2012-dated issues.