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First Spouse Designs Ready

There will be five First Spouse gold coins issued in 2009 rather than the standard four because President John Tyler was married twice and his wives Letitia and Julia will make up the second and third issues of the year.

The designs of the 2009 half-ounce gold coins with a $10 denomination were released by the U.S. Mint Dec. 23.

Leading off with availability to collectors some time in the spring will be Anna Harrison, wife of William Henry Harrison. He died in 1841 a month into his presidency.

The obverse was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Associate Designer Donna Weaver and it was sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.

On the reverse she is shown teaching students. It was designed by AIP Master Designer Thomas Cleveland and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers.

For the first Mrs. John Tyler, Letitia’s obverse portrait was both designed and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.

Mrs. Tyler is shown at Cedar Grove Plantation with her two oldest children on the reverse. She was married there in 1813. Susan Gamble, AIP Master Designer, created it and it was executed by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Norman E. Nemeth.

The issue honoring Julia, the second Mrs. Tyler, uses designs for both sides from AIP Master Designer Joel Iskowitz that were then sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart. On the reverse she is shown dancing with the President at a White House ball.

Hemphill also did all of the work for the coin honoring Sarah Polk, whose husband James K. Polk took office in 1845 and who presided over the Mexican War 1846-1848 as well as the discovery of gold in California in 1848. She is shown on the reverse working in the White House.

Margaret Taylor, whose husband Zachary in 1850 became the second President to die in office, is shown in an obverse portrait designed by Hemphill and sculpted by Vickers.

On the reverse Mrs. Taylor is shown tending an injured soldier during the Seminole War. This was designed by Mary Beth Zeitz, an AIP Associate Designer. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz executed it.

“The First Spouse gold coin designs give us a glimpse into the fascinating lives of the women who supported, promoted and often advised the men who led our country,” said Mint Director Ed Moy.
First Spouse coin designs will also used on 1-5/16” bronze medals.

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