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2008 First Spouse Gold Coins

CoinTrapTM Commentary: The 2009 First Spouse Gold Coins include images of Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Adams, and special issues for Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.

The first spouses of America contributed immeasurably to the progress and culture of America. To date, all of the “First Spouses” have been women, although we will no-doubt one day have a male “First Spouse” adorning our coins some day.  All of the first spouse gold coins are 1/2 ounce 99.99% fine gold (24 karat), with a face value of $10.  The actual market price is of course much higher than the nominal face value shown on the coin. This is genuinely beautiful coinage and worthy of any coin collection.

Coin Value: What is the value of your 2008 First Spouse Gold coin?  Like with most things in life, it depends! Your particular 2008 First Spouse Gold coin worth or value depends on these main factors: (1) your coin’s grade, (2) whether it is a proof coin (Deep Cameo or DCAM) having a mirror-like polished finish, (3) whether it is a ”first strike” version, and (5) scarcity/demand. Regarding your coin’s grade, it has become a standard in the field of numismatics (coin collecting) to grade coins on a point-scale from 1 (poor) to 70 (perfect). This is also referred to as the “Mint State” or just “MS” for short. Click here to look for the up-to-date estimated value of your 2008 First Spouse Gold coin from the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS®), which takes the factors mentioned above into account*.  If you do not know the grade of your 2008 First Spouse Gold coin, you can take it to your local coin dealer and ask that they have it graded at one of the three major coin grading services.

2008 First Spouse Elizabeth Monroe - Obverse

2008 First Spouse Elizabeth Monroe - Reverse

Obverse - 2008 First Spouse Elizabeth Monroe Coin

Portrait of Elizabeth Monroe, wife of President James Monroe.

Designer: Joel Iskowitz
Sculptor: Don Everhart

Reverse - 2008 First Spouse Elizabeth Monroe Coin

On January 1, 1818, Elizabeth and James Monroe held a grand New Year’s Day reception to reopen the White House, which was rebuilt after its burning at the hands of the British in 1814.  James and Elizabeth supplied some of their own furniture because the White House was almost empty when they moved in. Today, nine of their pieces still remain as fixtures in the White House.

Designer: Donna Weaver
Sculptor: Charles Vickers

2008 First Spouse Louisa Adams - Obverse

2009 First Spouse Louisa Adams - Reverse

Obverse - 2008 First Spouse Louisa Adams Coin

Portrait of Louisa Adams, first wife of President John Quincy Adams.

Designer: Susan Gamble
Sculptor: Phebe Hemphill

Reverse - 2008 First Spouse Louisa Adams Coin

From 1809 to 1815, Louisa and John Quincy Adams lived in St. Petersburg, Russia and served as American diplomats.  In 1815, Louisa and her son Charles (at age 8) journeyed across much of Europe to join her husband in Paris. 

Designer: Joseph Menna
Sculptor: Joseph Menna

2008 First Spouse Andrew Jackson - Obverse

2008 First Spouse Andrew Jackson - Reverse

Obverse - 2008 First Spouse Andrew Jackson’s Liberty Coin

The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 contains a provision to provide continuity of the First Spouse Gold Coin Program during times when a president served without a first spouse. This provision applies to Andrew Jackson, whose wife Rachel died in December 1828, just a few months before his presidential inauguration. The selected image of Lady Liberty originally appeared on the Capped Bust, Lettered Edge Half-Dollar coin from 1807-1836, during Andrew Jackson’s presidency.

Designer: John Reich
Sculptor: John Reich

Reverse - 2008 First Spouse Andrew Jackson’s Liberty Coin

Andrew Jackson, known as “Old Hickory,” is honored on the reverse of this coin as a war hero.  Jackson led a force of approximately 4,000 American troops against a British Army more than twice that size and emerged victorious in January 1815 at the Battle of New Orleans, thereby securing an important southern sea port.

Designer: Justin Kunz
Sculptor: Don Everhart

2008 First Spouse Martin Van Buren - Obverse

2008 First Spouse Martin Van Buren - Reverse

Obverse - 2008 First Spouse Martin Van Buren’s Liberty Coin

Martin Van Buren’s wife Hannah died in 1819. Van Buren was a widower for 18 years when he became president in 1837.

The gold coins issued to accompany any president who served without a spouse will each feature a design of Lady Liberty on its obverse, as depicted on a United States coin issued during the President’s time in office.  For Martin Van Buren, the selected image appeared on the Liberty Seated Dime coin from 1837-1891. 

Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Sculptor: Christian Gobrecht

Reverse - 2008 First Spouse Martin Van Buren’s Liberty Coin

As a youth, Martin Van Buren’s family operated a tavern in the town of Kinderhook, a mostly Dutch community located between New York City and Albany. Here, young Martin was exposed to political ideology at an early age, as local and state politicians would often gather at the Van Buren tavern as they traveled between the two cities.

Designer: Thomas Cleveland
Sculptor: Jim Licaretz

United States Mint images. is not affiliated with the United States Government in any way. Click here for terms and conditions.


    [[Page 119 STAT. 2664]]

    Public Law 109-145
    109th Congress

                                     An Act

    To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration
    of each of the Nation's past Presidents and their spouses, respectively,
    to improve circulation of the $1 coin, to create a new bullion coin, and
           for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 22, 2005 -  [S. 1047]>>

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
    United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Presidential $1
    Coin Act of 2005.>>

    SECTION <<NOTE: 31 USC 5101 note.>> 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005''.

                         TITLE I--PRESIDENTIAL $1 COINS

    SEC. 101. <<NOTE: 31 USC 5112 note.>> FINDINGS.

       Congress finds the following:
               (1) There are sectors of the United States economy,
           including public transportation, parking meters, vending
           machines, and low-dollar value transactions, in which the use of
           a $1 coin is both useful and desirable for keeping costs and
           prices down.
               (2) For a variety of reasons, the new $1 coin introduced in
           2000 has not been widely sought-after by the public, leading to
           higher costs for merchants and thus higher prices for consumers.
               (3) The success of the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program
           (31 U.S.C. 5112(l)) for circulating quarter dollars shows that a
           design on a United States circulating coin that is regularly
           changed in a manner similar to the systematic change in designs
           in such Program radically increases demand for the coin, rapidly
           pulling it through the economy.
               (4) The 50 States Commemorative Coin Program also has been
           an educational tool, teaching both Americans and visitors
           something about each State for which a quarter has been issued.
               (5) A national survey and study by the Government
           Accountability Office has indicated that many Americans who do
           not seek, or who reject, the new $1 coin for use in commerce
           would actively seek the coin if an attractive, educational
           rotating design were to be struck on the coin.
               (6) The President is the leader of our tripartite government
           and the President's spouse has often set the social tone for the
           White House while spearheading and highlighting important issues
           for the country.

    [[Page 119 STAT. 2665]]

               (7) <<NOTE: Sacagawea.>> Sacagawea, as currently represented
           on the new $1 coin, is an important symbol of American history.
               (8) Many people cannot name all of the Presidents, and fewer
           can name the spouses
    , nor can many people accurately place each
           President in the proper time period of American history.
               (9) First Spouses have not generally been recognized on
           American coinage.
               (10) <<NOTE: Theodore Roosevelt. Earle
           Fraser. Augustus Saint-Gaudens.>> In order to revitalize the
           design of United States coinage and return circulating coinage
           to its position as not only a necessary means of exchange in
           commerce, but also as an object of aesthetic beauty in its own
           right, it is appropriate to move many of the mottos and emblems,
           the inscription of the year, and the so-called ``mint marks''
           that currently appear on the 2 faces of each circulating coin to
           the edge of the coin, which would allow larger and more dramatic
           artwork on the coins reminiscent of the so-called ``Golden Age
           of Coinage'' in the United States, at the beginning of the
           Twentieth Century, initiated by President Theodore Roosevelt,
           with the assistance of noted sculptors and medallic artists
           James Earle Fraser and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
               (11) Placing inscriptions on the edge of coins, known as
           edge-incusing, is a hallmark of modern coinage and is common in
           large-volume production of coinage elsewhere in the world, such
           as the 2,700,000,000 2-Euro coins in circulation, but it has not
           been done on a large scale in United States coinage in recent
               (12) Although the Congress has authorized the Secretary of
           the Treasury to issue gold coins with a purity of 99.99 percent,
           the Secretary has not done so.
               (13) Bullion coins are a valuable tool for the investor and,
           in some cases, an important aspect of coin collecting.


       Section 5112 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding
    at the end the following:
       ``(n) Redesign and Issuance of Circulating $1 Coins Honoring Each of
    the Presidents of the United States.--
               ``(1) Redesign beginning in 2007.--
                       ``(A) In general.--Notwithstanding subsection (d)
                   and in accordance with the provisions of this
                   subsection, $1 coins issued during the period beginning
                   January 1, 2007, and ending upon the termination of the
                   program under paragraph (8), shall--
                             ``(i) have designs on the obverse selected in
                         accordance with paragraph (2)(B) which are
                         emblematic of the Presidents of the United States;
                             ``(ii) have a design on the reverse selected
                         in accordance with paragraph (2)(A).
                       ``(B) Continuity provisions.--
                             ``(i) In general.--Notwithstanding
                         subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall continue to
                         mint and issue $1 coins which bear any design in
                         effect before the issuance of coins as required
                         under this subsection (including the so-called
                         `Sacagawea-design' $1 coins).

    [[Page 119 STAT. 2666]]

                             ``(ii) Circulation quantity.--Beginning
                         January 1, 2007, and ending upon the termination
                         of the program under paragraph (8), the Secretary
                         annually shall mint and issue such `Sacagawea-
                         design' $1 coins for circulation in quantities of
                         no less than \1/3\ of the total $1 coins minted
                         and issued under this subsection.''.
               ``(2) Design requirements.--The $1 coins issued in
           accordance with paragraph (1)(A) shall meet the following design
                       ``(A) Coin reverse.--The design on the reverse shall
                             ``(i) a likeness of the Statue of Liberty
                         extending to the rim of the coin and large enough
                         to provide a dramatic representation of Liberty
                         while not being large enough to create the
                         impression of a `2-headed' coin;
                             ``(ii) the inscription `$1'; and
                             ``(iii) the inscription `United States of
                       ``(B) Coin obverse.--The design on the obverse shall
                             ``(i) the name and likeness of a President of
                         the United States; and
                             ``(ii) basic information about the President,
                                       ``(I) the dates or years of the term
                                   of office of such President; and
                                       ``(II) a number indicating the order
                                   of the period of service in which the
                                   President served.
                       ``(C) Edge-incused inscriptions.--
                             ``(i) In general.--The inscription of the year
                         of minting or issuance of the coin and the
                         inscriptions `E Pluribus Unum' and `In God We
                         Trust' shall be edge-incused into the coin.
                             ``(ii) Preservation of distinctive edge.--The
                         edge-incusing of the inscriptions under clause (i)
                         on coins issued under this subsection shall be
                         done in a manner that preserves the distinctive
                         edge of the coin so that the denomination of the
                         coin is readily discernible, including by
                         individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
                       ``(D) Inscriptions of `liberty'.--Notwithstanding
                   the second sentence of subsection (d)(1), because the
                   use of a design bearing the likeness of the Statue of
                   Liberty on the reverse of the coins issued under this
                   subsection adequately conveys the concept of Liberty,
                   the inscription of `Liberty' shall not appear on the
                       ``(E) Limitation in series to deceased presidents.--
                   No coin issued under this subsection may bear the image
                   of a living former or current President, or of any
                   deceased former President during the 2-year period
                   following the date of the death of that President.
               ``(3) Issuance of coins commemorating presidents.--
                       ``(A) Order of issuance.--The coins issued under
                   this subsection commemorating Presidents of the United
                   States shall be issued in the order of the period of
                   service of each President, beginning with President
                   George Washington.

    [[Page 119 STAT. 2667]]

                       ``(B) Treatment of period of service.--
                             ``(i) In general.--Subject to clause (ii),
                         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.
                             ``(ii) Nonconsecutive terms.--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
               ``(4) Issuance of coins commemorating 4 presidents during
           each year of the period.--
                       ``(A) In general.--The designs for the $1 coins
                   issued during each year of the period referred to in
                   paragraph (1) shall be emblematic of 4 Presidents until
                   each President has been so honored, subject to paragraph
                       ``(B) Number of 4 circulating coin designs in each
                   year.--The Secretary shall prescribe, on the basis of
                   such factors as the Secretary determines to be
                   appropriate, the number of $1 coins that shall be issued
                   with each of the designs selected for each year of the
                   period referred to in paragraph (1).
               ``(5) Legal tender.--The coins minted under this title shall
           be legal tender, as provided in section 5103.
               ``(6) Treatment as numismatic items.--For purposes of
           section 5134 and 5136, all coins minted under this subsection
           shall be considered to be numismatic items.
               ``(7) Issuance of numismatic coins.--The Secretary may mint
           and issue such number of $1 coins of each design selected under
           this subsection in uncirculated and proof qualities as the
           Secretary determines to be appropriate.
               ``(8) Termination of program.--The issuance of coins under
           this subsection shall terminate when each President has been so
           honored, subject to paragraph (2)(E), and may not be resumed
           except by an Act of Congress.
               ``(9) Reversion to preceding design.--Upon the termination
           of the issuance of coins under this subsection, the design of
           all $1 coins shall revert to the so-called `Sacagawea-design' $1

    . . .


       Section 5112 of title 31, United States Code, as amended by sections
    102 and 103, by adding at the end the following:
       ``(p) Removal of Barriers to Circulation of $1 Coin.--
               ``(1) <<NOTE: Effective date.>> Acceptance by agencies and
           instrumentalities.--Beginning January 1, 2006, all agencies and
           instrumentalities of the United States, the United States Postal
           Service, all nonappropriated fund instrumentalities established
           under title 10, United States Code, all transit systems that
           receive operational subsidies or any disbursement of funds from
           the Federal Government, such as funds from the Federal Highway
           Trust Fund, including the Mass Transit Account, and all entities
           that operate any business, including vending machines, on any
           premises owned by the United States or under the control of any
           agency or instrumentality of the United States, including the
           legislative and judicial branches of the Federal Government,

    [[Page 119 STAT. 2670]]

           shall take such action as may be appropriate to ensure that by
           the end of the 2-year period beginning on such date--
                       ``(A) any business operations conducted by any such
                   agency, instrumentality, system, or entity that involve
                   coins or currency will be fully capable of accepting and
                   dispensing $1 coins in connection with such operations;
                       ``(B) displays signs and notices denoting such
                   capability on the premises where coins or currency are
                   accepted or dispensed, including on each vending
               ``(2) Publicity.--The Director of the United States Mint,
           shall work closely with consumer groups, media outlets, and
           schools to ensure an adequate amount of news coverage, and other
           means of increasing public awareness, of the inauguration of the
           Presidential $1 Coin Program established in subsection (n) to
           ensure that consumers know of the availability of the coin.
               ``(3) Coordination.--The Board of Governors of the Federal
           Reserve System and the Secretary shall take steps to ensure that
           an adequate supply of $1 coins is available for commerce and
           collectors at such places and in such quantities as are
           appropriate by--
                       ``(A) consulting, to accurately gauge demand for
                   coins and to anticipate and eliminate obstacles to the
                   easy and efficient distribution and circulation of $1
                   coins as well as all other circulating coins, from time
                   to time but no less frequently than annually, with a
                   coin users group, which may include--
                             ``(i) representatives of merchants who would
                         benefit from the increased usage of $1 coins;
                             ``(ii) vending machine and other coin acceptor
                             ``(iii) vending machine owners and operators;
                             ``(iv) transit officials;
                             ``(v) municipal parking officials;
                             ``(vi) depository institutions;
                             ``(vii) coin and currency handlers;
                             ``(viii) armored-car operators;
                             ``(ix) car wash operators; and
                             ``(x) coin collectors and dealers;
                       ``(B) <<NOTE: Reports.>> submitting an annual report
                   to the Congress containing--
                             ``(i) an assessment of the remaining obstacles
                         to the efficient and timely circulation of coins,
                         particularly $1 coins;
                             ``(ii) an assessment of the extent to which
                         the goals of subparagraph (C) are being met; and
                             ``(iii) such recommendations for legislative
                         action the Board and the Secretary may determine
                         to be appropriate;
                       ``(C) consulting with industry representatives to
                   encourage operators of vending machines and other
                   automated coin-accepting devices in the United States to
                   accept coins issued under the Presidential $1 Coin
                   Program established under subsection (n) and any coins
                   bearing any design in effect before the issuance of
                   coins required under subsection (n) (including the so-
                   called `Sacagawea-design' $1

    [[Page 119 STAT. 2671]]

                   coins), and to include notices on the machines and
                   devices of such acceptability;
                       ``(D) ensuring that--
                             ``(i) during an introductory period, all
                         institutions that want unmixed supplies of each
                         newly-issued design of $1 coins minted under
                         subsections (n) and (o) are able to obtain such
                         unmixed supplies; and
                             ``(ii) circulating coins will be available for
                         ordinary commerce in packaging of sizes and types
                         appropriate for and useful to ordinary commerce,
                         including rolled coins;
                       ``(E) working closely with any agency,
                   instrumentality, system, or entity referred to in
                   paragraph (1) to facilitate compliance with the
                   requirements of such paragraph; and
                       ``(F) identifying, analyzing, and overcoming
                   barriers to the robust circulation of $1 coins minted
                   under subsections (n) and (o), including the use of
                   demand prediction, improved methods of distribution and
                   circulation, and improved public education and awareness
               ``(4) Bullion dealers.--The Director of the United States
           Mint shall take all steps necessary to ensure that a maximum
           number of reputable, reliable, and responsible dealers are
           qualified to offer for sale all bullion coins struck and issued
           by the United States Mint.
               ``(5) <<NOTE: Notification.>> Review of co-circulation.--At
           such time as the Secretary determines to be appropriate, and
           after consultation with the Board of Governors of the Federal
           Reserve System, the Secretary shall notify the Congress of its
           assessment of issues related to the co-circulation of any
           circulating $1 coin bearing any design, other than the so-called
           `Sacagawea-design' $1 coin, in effect before the issuance of
           coins required under subsection (n), including the effect of co-
           circulation on the acceptance and use of $1 coins, and make
           recommendations to the Congress for improving the circulation of
           $1 coins.''.


       It is the sense of the Congress that--
               (1) the enactment of this Act will serve to increase the use
           of $1 coins generally, which will increase the circulation of
           the so-called ``Sacagawea-design'' $1 coins that have been and
           will continue to be minted and issued;
               (2) the continued minting and issuance of the so-called
           ``Sacagawea-design'' $1 coins will serve as a lasting tribute to
           the role of women and Native Americans in the history of the
           United States;
               (3) the full circulation potential and cost-savings benefit
           projections for the $1 coins are not likely to be achieved
           unless the coins are delivered in ways useful to ordinary
               (4) the coins issued in connection with this title should
           not be introduced with an overly expensive taxpayer-funded
           public relations campaign;
               (5) in order for the circulation of $1 coins to achieve
           maximum potential--
                       (A) the coins should be as attractive as possible;
                       (B) the Director of the United States Mint should
                   take all reasonable steps to ensure that all $1 coins

    [[Page 119 STAT. 2672]]

                   and issued remain tarnish-free for as long as possible
                   without incurring undue expense; and
               (6) if the Secretary of the Treasury determines to include
           on any $1 coin minted under section 102 of this Act a mark
           denoting the United States Mint facility at which the coin was
           struck, such mark should be edge-incused.

    . . .

       Approved December 22, 2005.

    LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 1047 (H.R. 902):

    HOUSE REPORTS: No. 109-39 accompanying H.R. 902 (Comm. on Financial
    CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 151 (2005):
               Nov. 18, considered and passed Senate.
               Dec. 13, considered and passed House.

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