Julia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coins
Julia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coins are the eleventh in a series of commemoratives designed to honor former first ladies of the United States. These coins are struck from 24 carat gold and have been offered in proof and uncirculated condition by the US Mint since August 6, 2009
Both of these coins bear a $10 face value and together have a combined maximum mintage of 40,000 as outlined in the the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, the law that authorized the gold series.
Designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart, the proof and the uncirculated coin feature a beautiful portrait of Julia on the obverse. The reverse showcases President John Tyler and Julia dancing together at a White House Ball.
Julia Tyler Biography (1820-1889)
Born in 1820 on a small island off the tip of Long Island, New York which bore the name of her family (Gardiner), Julia would be raised in a life of wealthy comfort. Her father, David, was a prominent landowner and New York State Senator. From the beginning, Julia’s training and education would prepare her for a life in society.
Early in 1842, at a White House reception, Julia would be introduced to the man who would one day become her husband, President John Tyler. President Tyler’s first wife, Letitia, was still alive, and the first meeting was just a polite social one.
Letitia Tyler died later that year after suffering a stroke, and the romance between John and Julia started up a few months later. In early 1844, Julia’s family joined the President on an excursion aboard the new steam frigate Princeton, where her father and several others lost their life to an accidental naval gun explosion.
Stricken with grief, Tyler comforted Julia and secretly they made plans to be married. On June 26, 1844, the couple were married in small New York City ceremony. Only a few relatives were present, including only one son of the President’s. The rest of the family and the country would find out shortly and it would garner some criticism. Shocking to some, the President of the United States had just married a woman 30 years younger than himself!
Julia took the disparagement in stride, and her charm soon won over most of Washington society. Using her powers of gentle persuasion, she assisted in the President’s struggle to annex Texas, an accomplishment with which he gave great credit to Julia. In fact, upon signing the resolution to annex, President Tyler gave his wife the gold pen he had used.
First Wife for only 8 months, Julia did return more formality to the White House. She was also instrumental in instituting the tradition of playing James Sanderson’s song "Hail to the Chief" to announce the arrival of the President which continues today.
Quite in love, the couple retired to the President’s plantation known as Sherwood Forest in Virginia where she bore him 7 children. Julia wrote a poem for John’s 62nd birthday in which she said:
what e’er changes time may bring, I’ll love thee as thou art!
John died in 1862, and Julia was forced to move to New York because of the Civil War. Though born in the north, Julia supported the confederacy, a position which caused some strife.
Effectively bankrupt from the effects of the Civil War, Julia depended on her children for survival. That is, until Congress instituted a pension for the widows of former presidents.
Aged 69, Julia suffered a stroke and passed away. Her body was interred next the John’s at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
- United States Mint information/order page
- Julia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin images
- Julia Tyler First Spouse Medal Images
- Julia Tyler First Spouse Coin Designs
- White House Biography