Jane Pierce First Spouse Gold Coins
Marking the fifteenth issue in a series that started in 2007 is the Jane Pierce First Spouse Gold Coin. Struck from 1/2 ounce of 24 karat (.9999 fine) gold, these coins honor the former first ladies of the United States and were launched on June 3, 2010.
The United States Mint was authorized to manufacture the $10 denominated gold pieces under the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. They are minted in both proof and uncirculated collector finishes, and have a maximum authorized mintage of 15,000 across both options.
The obverse of the Jane Pierce coins was designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Don Everhart to show a portrait of the former First Lady. On the reverse we find Jane in the visitor’s gallery of the Old Senate Chamber in the U.S. Capitol Building listening to a debate. The reverse was also designed by Donna Weaver but sculpted by Charles Vickers.
Jane Pierce Biography (1806-1863)
Jane’s father was a Congregationalist minister and president of Bowdoin College who passed away while she was still a child. In order to insure comfortable living for the family, Jane’s mother moved them into her family’s mansion in Amherst, New York.
It was here that Jane met a young lawyer named Franklin Pierce, and the two began courting. Atypical for the time, the two did not marry for several years. Finally, when Franklin was 30 and Jane was 28, a small ceremony was held at the family mansion.
Already active and successful in the political realm, Franklin was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives when he married Jane. He continued his political aspirations and became a U.S. Senator in 1837. Jane, for her part, was completely unhappy with life in Washington D.C. and pleaded with her husband to resign his office, which he finally did in 1842.
Franklin served in the Mexican-American War and attained the rank of Brigadier-General before returning home to his family. For the next few years, the Pierce’s were quite content and happy with their life and adored their only surviving child Benjamin as he grew up.
Then, in 1852, life would change for the family. The Democratic Party chose Pierce as their candidate for President of the United States. Jane, who still disdained the political world, fainted at the news.
Tragedy would strike two months before Pierce’s inauguration. While the family was onboard a train, a derailment occurred and caused the death of son Benjamin right in front of his parent’s eyes. Jane was distraught, and never completely recovered from the loss.
Once in the White House, Jane refused to take part in the official hostess duties. She left that responsibility to others, instead spending time up in the residence, writing letters to her deceased son.
Jane passed away on December 2, 1863.