Alice Paul First Spouse Gold Coins
Alice Paul First Spouse Gold Coins are the first strikes of the series issued in 2012. These Alice Paul coins are unique in the series because they are the first and only coins of the program to not feature either a spouse of a former President of the United States or the image of Liberty.
When the US Congress passed the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-145), which authorized the First Spouse Gold Coins, it made provisions for those Presidents who served in office without a spouse. Typically, in these instances, a likeness of Liberty was to be featured on the First Spouse Gold Coins issued in association with that President. This format was followed for previous releases including Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty, Andrew Jackson’s Liberty, Martin Van Buren’s Liberty and James Buchanan’s Liberty Coins.
However, when it came to the administration of former President Chester Arthur whose wife died before he entered office, Congress made other allowances. In this single instance, it required the US Mint to strike and release a coin honoring early 20th century American Suffragist Alice Paul.
The exact text of the corresponding section of the authorizing Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 follows:
"as represented, in the case of President Chester Alan Arthur, by a design incorporating the name and likeness of Alice Paul, a leading strategist in the suffrage movement, who was instrumental in gaining women the right to vote upon the adoption of the 19th amendment and thus the ability to participate in the election of future Presidents, and who was born on January 11, 1885, during the term of President Arthur."
Thus, the Alice Paul First Spouse Gold Coin was released in association with the Presidency of Chester Arthur.
The obverse of the Alice Paul Coin was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Susan Gamble and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. It depicts a portrait of the American Suffragist along with the inscriptions of IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY, 2012 and SUFFRAGIST.
Shown on the reverse is a design completed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. It offers the image of a participant marching in a suffrage parade while holding the American flag and wearing a banner that says VOTES FOR WOMEN. Reverse inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, $10, 1/2 oz. and .9999 FINE GOLD.
Each coin in the series features a face value of $10 and is struck from one half ounce of .9999 fine gold to either proof or uncirculated quality.
Alice Paul Biography Biography (1885-1977)
Alice Paul was born on born on January 11, 1885 to Quaker parents in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. Part of that Quaker belief was in gender equality which was taught to Alice at a young age and further nurtured as she attended National American Woman Suffrage Association meetings with her mother.
She moved to England in 1907 to study social work and there began more militant actions on behalf of the movement. She returned to the United States in 1910 and immediately took a national role in advancing women’s rights. Among her first actions was to organize a parade march in Washington D.C. of women who supported the cause to coincide with Woodrow Wilson’s presidential inauguration.
Over the next several years Paul advanced the agenda in any matter possible even resulting in her arrest and eventual admittance into a sanitarium. The poor treatment of the Suffragists led to a swell of support from the public who demanded their release.
Finally, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was proposed and passed prohibiting any US citizen from being denied the right to vote based on gender.