Although the series of 24 karat gold coins is intended to honor the First Spouses of the United States, four coins feature depictions of Liberty taken from circulating coins from the era of the Presidency. The so-called “Liberty Subset” represents a popular portion of the broader First Spouse Gold Coin series.
The authorizing legislation provided specific requirements for the design to be used for the situations when a President served in office without a spouse. The obverse design would feature an image emblematic of the concept of Liberty. This would be represented by the design taken from a coin issued during the years of the Presidential term. The reverse design would be representative of the themes of the Presidency.
Modern coins which reuse classic coin designs have a history of resonating strongly with collectors. The four issues of the Liberty Subset each reuse designs from U.S. coins from the 19th century, as listed below:
Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty – obverse from the Draped Bust Half Cent deigned by Robert Scot and issued from 1800-1808.
Andrew Jackson’s Liberty – obverse from the Capped Bust Lettered Edge Half Dollar designed by John Reich and issued from 1807 to 1836.
Martin Van Buren’s Liberty – obverse from the Liberty Seated Dime designed by Christian Gobrecht and issued from 1837 to 1891.
James Buchanan’s Liberty – obverse from the Liberty Gold Quarter Eagle designed by Christian Gobrecht and issued from 1840 to 1907.
Mintages for each coin within the subset have varied. The Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty achieved a sell out of the maximum authorized mintage of 40,000 coins, divided equally between the proof and uncirculated versions. The Jackson and Van Buren’s Liberty Coins had total sales of around 12,000 each, which results in a secondary market premiums. The Buchanan’s Liberty coin was on a trajectory for higher demand, however an early sell out resulted in sales of 12,652 across proof and uncirculated versions.
Interest in the subset seemed to increase following the release of the final coin. The four coins together make for an impressive display of classic coinage, struck in a composition of 24 karat gold.
It’s worth noting that President Chester A. Arthur also served in office without a spouse, however, the authorizing legislation provides for a different type of design, rather than a depiction of Liberty. The obverse will feature a portrait of Alice Paul, a leading strategist in the suffrage movement, while the reverse will carry a design representative of the movement.