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First Spouse designs unveiled by U.S. Mint

Designs for the four 2011 First Spouse gold half-ounce coins have been released by the U.S. Mint.
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This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Designs for the four 2011 First Spouse gold half-ounce coins have been released by the U.S. Mint.


The coins follow the template of obverse portrait paired with a scene from the First Lady’s life on the reverse.

Eliza Johnson, Julia Grant, Lucy Hayes and Lucretia Garfield are honored in the order in which their husbands served as President.

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Johnson’s portrait was done by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Joel Iskowitz. Inscriptions give her name, ELIZA JOHNSON, “17th” to indicate that her husband was the 17th President, “1865-1869” to indicate the term of office and 2011 is the date.

The reverse design, was done by AIP Associate Designer Gary Whitley to show her love of children. It depicts three children dancing and a Marine Band fiddler playing at the children’s ball that was held for President Johnson’s 60th birthday.

Grant’s portrait was done by AIP Master Designer Donna Weaver. The reverse was done by AIP Master Designer Richard Masters. It depicts a young Julia Dent and Ulysses S. Grant, then a West Point cadet, horseback riding at her family’s plantation, White Haven.

Hayes’ portrait is by AIP Master Designer Susan Gamble. On the reverse by AIP Associate Designer Barbara Fox is Hayes’ participation in the first Easter Egg Roll held at the White House.

Garfield’s portrait was done also by Fox. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso’s reverse represents Lucretia Garfield’s interest in art and features her painting on a canvas with brush and palette in hand.

Other inscriptions on the gold coins mandated by law are IN GOD WE TRUST and LIBERTY. The reverses state UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, $10, 1/2 oz. and .9999 FINE GOLD.

Less expensive versions of the First Spouse designs can be purchased this year in the form of 1-5/16” bronze medals. They cost $7.95 each.

Visit for scheduled release dates and issue prices. Pricing for the gold coins will be based on the United States Mint’s pricing structure, also available at

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