Louisa Adams First Spouse Gold Coins
Portraying Louisa Adams and the sixth release in the commemorative series to honor American First Ladies, Louisa Adams First Spouse Gold Coins were launched by the United States Mint on May 29, 2008.
The $10 denominated, one-half ounce coins are struck from 24-karat gold and were issued at a price of $619.95 for the proof version and $599.95 for the uncirculated option. The initial issue prices, however, have changed. The Mint has since changed its pricing policy and updates its numismatic bullion coin prices based on a weekly performance of gold. (See First Spouse Coin Price Guide for latest Mint prices and sales figures.)
In total, both coins combined have a maximum mintage of 40,000 as outlined in the the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 — the law that authorized the series. Current sales figures indicate those maximums will not likely be reached.
Louisa’s First Spouse Gold Coin’s obverse (heads) side depicts a beautiful portrait of her designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The reverse, designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Charles Vickers, illustrates Louisa and her son making the treacherous journey across Europe to Paris.
(See large Louisa Adams First Spouse Coin images.)
Louisa Adams Biography (1775-1852)
The first and only First Lady of the country to be born outside of it, Louisa Adams would find herself at the center of both great affection abroad and political discord in the United States.
Born in London, England to American businessman Joshua Johnson and his wife Catherine was Louisa on the 12th of February, 1775. Successful in his trade, Joshua was forced to move his family to France when the Revolutionary War broke out between the United States and England. Several years later they returned to London, expanding Louisa’s repertoire of language and customs of the European countries.
On July 26, 1797, in London, Louisa married John Quincy Adams, a U.S. diplomat, and son of the current U.S. President, John Adams. Her new husband had already served posts in the Netherlands and Russia, and shortly after their marriage he was assigned to Prussia.
In 1801, after her father-in-law lost his re-election, Louisa and John moved to the United States. This marked the first time she would step foot in the country. It is known that she was not received well by her mother-in-law Abigail Adams, but that she made immediate friends with John Adams, the former President.
Life in the private sector was short for the couple, as John Quincy was elected to the United States Senate in 1802. Being the son of the former President, Adams and his wife quickly made friends and acquaintances with those of power in Washington D.C.
In keeping with his chauvinist attitude, typical of the time, John accepted a posting as Minister to Russia without even consulting Louisa. To amplify the negative situation, he decided that their two oldest boys would stay in the States. Already frail and known for depression, these actions would not improve Louisa’s health.
After aiding in the successful negotiations to end the War of 1812, John Quincy requested that his wife and youngest son join him in Paris. It took a 40 day sleigh ride through war-torn Europe for her to make the trip from St. Petersburg to Paris. She was known to take great risk to insure the safe passage of her and her son. One account tells of her bluffing her way through Napoleon‘s army pretending to be his sister by fluently speaking the French she had learned as a child.
In 1817, John Quincy was appointed Secretary of State by James Monroe. Political ambition seemed to lie more in Louisa than it did in John. She continually pushed him to campaign for President himself, at one point writing:
"if only for a week…..Do for once gratify me….if harm comes of it I will promise never to advise you again."
Louisa was also quick to socialize with those that could be of some influence to help her husband win the Presidency. However, the win did not help their deteriorating marriage. John Quincy, never known as a loving and caring husband, turned even colder to his wife. Of this situation, Louisa wrote:
"I am decried an incumberance unless I am required for any special purpose for a show or some political maneuver and if I wish for a trifle of any kind, any favor is required at my hands, a deaf ear is turned to my request."
After losing a bitter re-election bid, John Quincy and Louisa returned to Massachusetts, but only for 2 years. He was elected to the House of Representatives, and served a very distinguished 17 years. Louisa died in Washington D.C. in 1852, and was the first woman that both houses of Congress adjourned in mourning for.
- Louisa Adams First Spouse Coin images
- Louisa Adams First Spouse Medal images
- Louisa Adams First Spouse Coin Designs
- US Mint press announcement
- US Mint First Spouse Program
- White House Biography of Louisa Adams
- Louisa Adams First Spouse Gold Coins and Bronze Medals