The Van Buren $10 First Spouse gold coin has a very low mintage and is a potentially rare gold piece. With mintages of 4,334 uncirculated and 7,515 proof coins, while it is not small in comparison with more recent First Spouse issues, the fact that it has the famous Seated Liberty design it is very exclusive and a definite rarity by any standard.
In comparison to other modern low mintage coins such as the 2000 Library of Congress $10 bimetallic coin, which had a mintage of 7,261 uncirculated coins and 27,445 proof coins and which goes anywhere from $1,100 in proof to $3,000 in uncirculated, this one-half ounce pure gold coin seems to this writer to be a definite winner.
The mintage of the Van Buren $10 gold uncirculated coin is minuscule compared to regular issue commemorative gold coins. No other First Spouse gold coins, which have been sold in even lower numbers, have increased in price with the price of bullion.
Nevertheless, the Seated Liberty designs with a one time puny mintage never to be replaced, may be just the spark that is needed to make this and the Jackson coins real winners. In comparison, with the exception of those few cases where the president served without a wife, such as Jefferson and Jackson, the other coins all have the spouse of the serving president, which resulted in the production of a lot of coins that nobody wants. Just like the Metallic Art Gold Medallions sold at the Post Office in early 1980s, the First Spouse gold coins will probably not be wanted and will end up in the melting pot, which has already happened with many of the first issues.
In reality, how many people even care about the serving presidents, let alone their wives. In most cases they are not particularly attractive, even with the artistic infusion and embellishments added by artists.
In some cases, they are ugly. Also, who has the money or inclination to buy eight gold coins a year at the premiums over their gold content so that they have a white elephant that will probably be worth melt value and then only to a very limited after market. Remember, we are suffering from the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s and there are not many people able to invest the $5,000 to $6,000 a year at current rates for the First Spouse gold coins, thus the low mintages.
Furthermore, although the U.S. Mint used the Seated Liberty design on its half dime through dollar coins from 1839 through 1891, not one gold coin of that design was struck. In fact, the only precious metal Seated Liberty coin struck was a platinum test piece or two, and anyone hoping to get one of those is dreaming due to its price and scarcity.
Making the Van Buren First Spouse gold coin appealing is the fact, anyone who wants a gem uncirculated or proof Seated Liberty coin from 1839 through 1891 will have to buy it in silver or non precious metals for pattern coins, and for the privilege of owning such a coin they will have to pay a huge premium, while in contrast, the Van Buren First Spouse gold coin was only minted for one year, it has the Seated Liberty design, it is approximately the diameter of a half dollar and it was minted using 21st Century technology in pure 9999 fine gold. Hard to believe that someone can lose with this coin. It may prove to be a collectors’ dream with a huge profit potential.
Remember, the 1995-W silver eagle and the 2000 Library of Congress B.U. coins were relatively inexpensive until their true scarcity was recognized. Now try to buy one even if you can find it.
I believe that when the true rarity of this nostalgic design is recognized that the price will go up dramatically. With a downside risk of having a 9999 fine ½ ounce gold coin, you can’t go wrong at the current eBay prices running around $900 to $1,000, which, at $1,162 an ounce gold is slightly over their bullion content.
This is definitely an improvement over the Van Buren dollar coin. I attribute the bust of President Van Buren to be truly appalling and his hair reminds me of Larry Fine of the Three Stooges fame. This coin is the exception to the First Spouse sleepers, and I believe that it will be a definite winner.
William H. Brownstein is a hobbyist from Santa Monica, Calif.
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