2011 W First Spouse Lucy Hayes 1/2 Ounce Gold Coin MS69 PCGS
This Gold First Spouse Coin was released September 1, 2011 and was the 20th Commemorative Coin, released in the fifth year of the series. It is struck from ½ ounce of .9999 24-karat gold. The obverse is Lucy’s portrait, designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Don Everhart. The reverse shows her participating in the first Easter Egg Roll held at the White House, and was designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
Lucy was the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States. She served as First Lady from 1877 to 1881, during the 23rd Presidential Term. The Ohio Congressman and three-term Governor won by one electoral vote and was elected to the Presidency although he lost the popular vote. Gravely disappointed in the outcome of the election, Lucy believed her husband had lost the election. Under a cloud of suspicion he was sworn in at a White House Reception hosted by outgoing President Grant. Her appearance at this event, in a black dress, black bonnet, and her black hair parted in the middle, generated much unwanted press.
Lucy, as did Martha Washington before her, supported her husband and joined him on the battlefield, earning her the nickname "Mother of the Regiment." She encouraged her husband to fight in the Civil War, being an abolitionist like her late father and her mother. She taught her freed black servant Eliza Jane how to read and write and supported the racially-integrated Methodist Church she attended in Montreal, Canada. This led to her early support of the newly formed pro-abolition Republican Party. She worked diligently to create an Ohio orphanage for children of Civil War veterans, and got individual legislators to purchase, fund and convert the private institution to one run by the state.
Always a temperance advocate, she earned the name "Lemonade Lucy" for not serving alcohol at White House functions. She was beautiful, well-educated, and a popular hostess, so her friends and contemporaries of the time overlooked the matter of lemonade always being served at parties instead of stronger drinks.
Lucy was the first First Lady to graduate from college, well versed on social matters and supported several "causes." Some of these included the poor living around Washington, DC, woman's rights groups, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Having successfully avoided being exploited by any of these groups, the Women's Temperance Union flattered her by asking to commission a life-size portrait of her, and held a fundraiser to do so. She was bitterly disappointed to find that only a small portion of the funds raised actually were used for that purpose, with the rest going to a temperance public relations campaign. After the Presidency, she and her husband retired to their Spiegel Grove estate and remained largely out of public life.
||1/2 Troy oz
||.9999 Fine Gold
||0.5000 troy oz (15.554g) (min)
||1.043 inches (26.49mm)
||0.074 inches (1.88mm)