First Spouse Coins

It is common knowledge that the U.S. Mint is releasing a new dollar coin for each of the presidents of the United States – in the order that they were elected president. The George Washington dollar coin was just released. After that there will be a John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison release. There was an article in the Philadelphia newspaper about how some of them did not have “”In God We Trust… E Pluribus Unum… P 2007.”” on the edges. The golden look of the coins is caused by mixing copper (91%) and nickel (9%).

Slightly less well known – is that there is a corresponding series of First Lady Coins. Congress thought there was a likelihood, that before the series was over there might be a woman president, so they changed the name to First Spouse Coins. These will be $10 gold coins, made out of .9999 gold, and they are beautiful coins! I bet they cost more than $10, probably more than rubies! Perhaps Bill Clinton will make the cut. 🙂

If you look at this link , you will see the first four – Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, LIBERTY, and Dolley Madison. Thomas Jefferson’s wife is notably absent! So I looked up the Wikipedia article – and here is the story. Thomas Jefferson was married to Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson (1748-1782) on January 1, 1772. Martha had been previously married to Bathurst Skelton (17441768), but he died in an accident. She had one son with Skelton, who died of a fever during her engagement to Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas and Martha had six children in ten years – and Martha was sick much of that time. When Martha died in child birth with baby number six, Thomas Jefferson lost it, and got so depressed that he burnt all their correspondence to one another. This was a long time before he became president and he was single for the rest of his life.

However, there is another woman. She is Sally Hemings. Martha’s father, John, had sexual relations with his housekeeper Betty – and they had five children together! So Sally Hemings is the half sister of Jefferson’s wife, and actually looked a lot like her. Sally Hemings may have been Thomas Jefferson’s mistress – and she was certainly his chambermaid. She had seven children.

Anyway – it would be nice if the mint honored these two women with a gold coin. They probably both deserve one.



Filed under coins, history

2 responses to “First Spouse Coins

  1. This is a really interesting post. I have an older article on the 24K Gold First Spouse Program Coins, but I had none of the background on Jefferson.

    Thanks for posting.

  2. I am working on a site for this series and this is great background.

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