When the law that authorized the Presidential Dollar Coin Program (that also authorized the $10 First Spouse Gold Coin Series) was enacted, the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, it stipulated that no President or First Lady could be depicted on a coin until they had been deceased for at least two years. In 2016 collectors thought the spouse series had ended with the coins for Nancy Reagan.
But then on April 17, 2018, Barbara Bush, wife of President George H.W. Bush for 73 years, passed away, and President Bush passed on November 30, 2018, which led the Congress to reopen both series so that coins could be issued for them. That was done with the President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush Coin Act (Public Law 116-112), signed into law by then President Donald J. Trump on January 27, 2020.
Mrs. Bush championed the cause of family literacy and in 1989 established the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy that provided over $110 million in support to families during her lifetime.
After 11 obverse and 12 reverse designs were reviewed in the spring of 2020 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and Commission on Fine Arts, the final design selection was made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and the designs were unveiled on July 30, 2020.
Created by Artistic Infusion Program Artist Benjamin Sowards and sculpted by Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill, the obverse design features a profile of Mrs. Bush smiling and wearing pearls with inscriptions above for her name, below for “41ST” and “1989-1993,” the years her husband was President, “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the left and “LIBERTY” “2020” and the mint mark W” for the West Point Mint to the right.
The reverse design was created by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Mint Medallic Artist John P. McGraw. It features a design that evokes her work on family literacy showing someone reading an open book with a winding road that leads to the sun in the background, representing the promise of a brighter future through literacy and knowledge. The reverse inscriptions are arranged around the inner border and include “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”, “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, “$10”, “1/2 OZ.”, and “.9999 FINE GOLD”.
Issued with a maximum authorized mintage for the uncirculated coins of 2,000 and of 3,000 for the Proof version, the coins went on sale on August 20, 2020 with no household limit. The initial price based on gold being in the range of $1950 to $2000 per ounce was $1340 for the mint state coin and $1360 for the Proofs.
Within 9 days, 1406 Proof coins and 946 uncirculated pieces of the Barbara Bush First Spouse Gold Coin (Buy on eBay) had been sold.
When the uncirculated coins were finally declared sold on April 21, 2022 a total of 1,935 coins had been sold, and when the Proof was declared sold out on December 16, 2021, 2,896 coins had been sold.
Coin Specifications and Mintages
- Date: 2020
- Mint: West Point (W)
- Mintage: 1,935 uncirculated, 2,896 Proof
- Designer: Benjamin Sowards and Barbara Fox
- Composition: 0.9999 fine gold
- Weight: 0.50 troy ounces (15.554 grams)
- Diameter: 1.043 inches (26.49 millimeters