As the United States Mint has finally moved forward with details on the offering the of 2012 Presidential Dollars, they have still not provided any details on the 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins. As of the current date, the officially selected designs have not been announced and release dates are yet to be provided. At the same time, sales of all of the 2011-dated coins of the series have continued, but at a slower pace than previous years.
2012 First Spouse Gold Coins
The 2012 First Spouse Coins will feature Alice Paul Suffragist, Frances Cleveland, Caroline Harrison, and Frances Cleveland (again).
The 21st President Chester Arthur served in office without a spouse. In past similar situations, a depiction of Liberty from a circulating coin of the era was used as the obverse design. In this case, the depiction of Alice Paul is specifically required under the authorizing legislation, which states:
…in the case of President Chester Alan Arthur, by a design incorporating the name and likeness of Alice Paul, a leading strategist in the suffrage movement, who was instrumental in gaining women the right to vote upon the adoption of the 19th amendment and thus the ability to participate in the election of future Presidents, and who was born on January 11, 1885, during the term of President Arthur.
The depiction of Frances Cleveland on two separate coins also stems from a specific requirement of the legislation. Essentially, separate Presidential Dollars are required for Presidents who served in nonconsecutive terms and the issuance of First Spouse Coins follows the same pattern. Grover Cleveland is the only President to serve in two nonconsecutive terms. Here is the section of the authorizing legislation dealing with the treatment of period of service:
…only 1 coin design shall be issued for a period of service for any President, no matter how many consecutive terms of office the President served. If a President has served during 2 or more nonconsecutive periods of service, a coin shall be issued under this subsection for each such nonconsecutive period of service.
The Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee reviewed the design candidates for this unusual lineup in November 2011.
Both the CFA and CCAC recommended the designs shown above for the Alice Paul Suffragist Coin.
For the first Frances Cleveland First Spouse Gold Coin, both the CFA and CCAC recommended the designs above.
The CFA’s recommendations for the Caroline Harrison coin are shown above.
The CCAC recommended different obverse and reverse designs for Caroline Harrison. With regards to their recommendation for the reverse design, it is:
…prefaced on the further recommendation that design be modified to replace the proposed floral design with an image of a plate that was hand painted by Mrs. Harrison and that a four-leaf clover mark that was the known moniker of the first lady be added to the design. Provided that the forgoing recommendation to use Mrs. Harrison’s plate design is not approved, the Committee recommends that the paintbrush shown in the design be altered to be shown over the top of the illustration of the lily pedal.
The CFA did not offer any recommendations for the second Frances Cleveland coin. The CCAC recommended the designs shown above.
All of the design candidates can be viewed in this article. As of the current date, the US Mint has not announced the official design selections made by the Secretary of the Treasury. Last year, the announcement of the designs for the 2011 coins was made on February 3, 2011.
The US Mint has not announced a release date for any of the 2012 First Spouse Gold Coins. For some years, the first coin of the series for the year was released in March. Last year, the first coin was not released until May 5, 2011.
2011 First Spouse Gold Coins
At the time of this post, all of the 2011 First Spouse Gold Coins remain available for sale at the United States Mint. The typical availability period for releases of the series has been “approximately one year” or until the maximum mintage has been sold. In practice, the US Mint has ended sales of each coin as the corresponding coin from the following year is released. For example, sales of the Eliza Johnson coin (the first release of 2011) would conclude when sales of the Alice Paul coin (the first release of 2012) begin. Earlier sell outs can also occur if the US Mint did not produce enough coins to last for the full period.
So far, the pace of sales for the 2011 coins is slower compared to previous years. To get an idea of how current sales compare to previous years, I looked up some old sales reports from March 15, 2010, March 13, 2011, and the most recent sales report on March 19, 2012. Then, I placed the sales numbers for each coin in the chart below.
By reading each line across the chart, you can see how sales of the currently available coins compare to sales for prior year issues at a similar point in time. In each case, the current issues show the lowest number for their respective position on the chart. Final sales for the 2011-dated issues will remain dependent on how much longer the coins remain on sale, the potential impact of gold prices on sales, and the possible occurrence of early sell outs.
Comparing First Spouse Gold Coin Sales Levels At Three Different Dates
|Johnson PR||3,807||Fillmore PR||5,790||Harrison PR||6,250|
|Johson UNC||2,845||Fillmore UNC||3,546||Harrison UNC||3,537|
|Grant PR||3,964||Pierce PR||4,843||L. Tyler PR||4,789|
|Grant UNC||2,575||Pierce UNC||3,305||L. Tyler UNC||2,866|
|J. Tyler PR||4,449|
|J. Tyler UNC||2,552|
|Hayes PR||3,110||Buchanan PR||7,304||Polk PR||4,266|
|Hayes UNC||2,004||Buchanan UNC||5,086||Polk UNC||2,557|
|Garfield PR||2,590||Lincoln PR||5,552||Taylor PR||3,232|
|Garfield UNC||1,633||Lincoln UNC||2,708||Taylor UNC||1,798|