Today the Mint will begin selling the James Buchanan First Spouse gold coin. Because he was not married, the coin will show a Coronet Head Liberty on its obverse that was used on the gold coinage of the 1857-1861.
Some hobbyists are thinking that because of the Liberty image this might be the First Spouse issue to turn interest around for the series generally and cause Mint sales to rise from the low level of 1,854 uncirculated and 3,488 proof examples of the Jane Pierce design.
Well, it completes a four-coin set. This is the last of four Presidents who were either widowers while in office or unmarried and are represented by old coin designs.
So for collectors who want this four-coin set (eight coins if they want both uncirculated and proof), the Buchanan coin will complete it.
I am sure that anything that lifts demand will be most welcome at the Mint. If collecting this set within a set does the trick, then the next issue, the one for Mary Todd Lincoln, will extend the gains.
The Mint has set a maximum of 15,000 for sales of First Spouse coins when the uncirculated and proof totals are combined. If demand were to divide evenly, that would be a maximum of 7,500 each.
That number is quite a bit higher than the figures I just cited for Jane Pierce, but pitifully below the 20,000 of each that prevailed for the first three issues, Washington to Jefferson.
But smart collectors know that the long-term opportunities lay in the low mintages and that is something Eric Jordan has been trying to teach collectors with his Modern Commemorative Coins book.
Will we heed the lesson?