The James Buchanan’s Liberty Gold Coin represented one of the more popular releases in the First Spouse Gold Coins program. Because the 15th President had served in office without a spouse, an image of Liberty taken from a circulating coin of the era was used for the obverse design.
The same situation had occurred for three previous issues of the series, which also used classic depictions of Liberty. Together the four coins make up the so-called Liberty Subset, which has become a popular method of collecting a select portion of the lengthy series. As the final issue of the subset, the James Buchanan’s Liberty Gold Coin generated strong interest when the US Mint began sales on September 2, 2010.
Coins were initially available from the US Mint at prices of $779 for proof coins and $766 for uncirculated coins. During the first three days of sales collectors purchased more than 6,000 coins, accounting for more than 40% of the 15,000 maximum authorized mintage. The pace of sales continued to be above average, suggesting the possibility of selling the entire maximum mintage.
This was ultimately prevented by an early sell out of the proof version of the coin on February 8, 2011 and the uncirculated version on April 11, 2011. Typically, the US Mint has endeavored to continue sales for each issue of the series until the maximum authorized mintage has been sold or for approximately one year, whichever occurs first. In this case, the US Mint underestimated the production necessary to keep the product available for the entire sales period. The same situation occurred for several other of the 2010 First Spouse Gold Coins.
The final audited mintages for the James Buchanan’s Liberty $10 Gold Coin were 5,162 uncirculated and 7,110 proof coins. The combined total of 12,272 was the highest for the series since 2007, however the greater than typical demand for the issue seems to make up for the extra supply.
The obverse of the James Buchanan’s Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin features a reproduction of the Liberty Head $2.50 Gold Quarter Eagle, originally designed by Christian Gobrecht. This coin was produced for circulation from 1840 to 1907. Modifications to the design have been made for the series, including the placement of inscriptions “15th Presidency”, “In God We Trust”, the dates of the Presidential term “1857 1861″ and the date of issue “2010″.
On the reverse of the coin is a scene of James Buchanan during his early youth, when he worked as a bookkeeper in a small country store owned by his family. The inscriptions surrounding the image read “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, “$10″, and “1/2 oz. .999 fine gold”. The reverse was designed by David Westwood and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
Coin Specifications and Mintages
Mint: West Point (W)
Mintage: 5,162 (uncirculated), 7,110 (proof)
Designers: Christian Gobrecht (obverse), David Westwood (reverse)
Composition: 0.9999 Gold
Weight: 0.5000 troy oz. (15.554 g)
Diameter: 1.041 inches (26.49 mm)
Thickness: 0.074 inches (1.88 mm)