Martha Washington First Spouse Gold Coins
The United States Mint jointly launched the Martha Washington First Spouse Gold Coins with Abigail Adams First Spouse coins on June 19, 2007. They were the first in a new series to honor American First Ladies with one-half ounce $10 coins struck in 24-karat gold and minted in proof and uncirculated versions.
Demand for each coin was exceptionally strong. The US Mint issue price for the proof version was $429.95. The uncirculated sold for $410.95.
Despite a mintage of 40,000 and a household limit of five for each option, the gold coins sold out within hours. They are currently selling in the secondary market for substantially more than what buyers first paid. (See Martha Washington Gold Coins on eBay.)
The Obverse of Martha’s First Spouse Gold Coin was designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna, and shows a regal portrait of her. The Reverse designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Don Everhart illustrates her sewing a button on George’s military uniform. (See large Martha Washington First Spouse Coin Images.)
Martha Washington Biography (1731-1802)
With the exception of perhaps only the most recent First Ladies, Martha Washington is probably one of the few whom Americans can name by memory. Surprisingly little is known about her, yet her place in history is quite firm.
Born Martha Dandridge on June 2, 1731, she married her first husband Daniel Custis, and had 4 children. Common for the time, two of them died in childhood.
Within 7 years of their marriage, Daniel (who was 20 years older than Martha) also passed, leaving her in the possession of their plantations, and the considerable wealth and power they commanded.
Less than two years after the passing of her first husband, Martha married the man who would really make her famous, Colonel George Washington, commander of the First Virginia Regiment, and future first President of the United States. Their marriage would last over 40 years, but unfortunately would not produce any children.
In July of 1775, George was appointed General of the American Army. Martha would prove to be a trusted and loyal supporter not only of her husband, but also of the troops of the Continental Army. She was so liked by the men, they dubbed her "Lady Washington". Martha even wintered with her husband at Valley Forge, keeping her role as caretaker of her husband and the troops.
After George was unanimously named President, Martha gracefully fulfilled the duties required of her as hostess for the new country. It is said that she would have preferred to stay home at Mount Vernon, but felt her duty was to be at her husband’s side. In a letter to a friend Mercy Otis Warren, Martha expressed her desire to keep her spirit up, no matter what.
"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."
Once out of office, the Washingtons returned to Mount Vernon until their deaths. Both of Martha’s remaining children had died, but Martha was able to provide support for her grandchildren.
Recent news articles are shedding a new light on our "First" First Lady. Always thought of as slightly chubby and homely, new research has shown a more passionate and lovely woman than previously thought. A Washington Post article written by Brigid Schulte points this out with the following quote:
"We always see Martha with a withered face in her old age. But she was quite a beautiful woman in her younger years, and Washington loved her deeply," said Edward Lengel, senior editor at the Papers of George Washington project at the University of Virginia. "What’s happening now is revisionist. But I think it’s a whole lot closer to the reality of what she was."
- Martha Washington First Spouse Coin images
- Martha Washington First Spouse Medal images
- Martha Washington First Spouse Coin Designs
- US Mint press announcement
- US Mint First Spouse Program
- White House Biography of Martha Washington
- First Spouse Gold Coin Price Guide