Buy the intriguing 2012 $10 Alice Paul First Spouse MS70 coin, struck at
the West Point branch of the U.S. Mint in .999 fine Gold.
This particular coin is a remarkable addition to the first spouse series, as it doesn't show a First Lady.
Why so? Well, Chester Arthur, lost his wife Ellen, before he took up the office, going on to serve as President from 1881-1885. The Presidential Coin Act of 2005 which precipitated the first Spouse series; made provision for Presidents that served without a spouse. In most cases the provision takes the form of an interpretation of liberty being utilized in the design, however, in this case, it was decided to show a likeness of Alice Paul suffragist. Alice was born during the Arthur administration, and it was thought appropriate to celebrate her life, given the enormous contribution she made to women gaining the vote. It was a choice that not to be without controversy.
The obverse design shows a portrait of Alice, with her name shown in capitals across the top. To the left of the portrait are the words, "In GOD WE TRUST", to the right the word "LIBERTY" and the year of issue 2012. The
mint mark for West Point appears just below the date. Instead of the details of her term as the first spouse, the word "SUFFRAGIST" appears below making this a particularly unique coin in the series. The reverse design shows a suffrage parade, with a participant holding a flag and wearing a banner displaying the words "VOTES FOR WOMEN." The wording "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" arches around the top of the design, while the lettering, "PLURIBUS UNUM," along with $10, ½ OZ, ".9999 FINE GOLD" curve around the base of the design. This coin was designed by Susan Gamble and Phebe Hemphill of the U.S. Mint. Like the other coins they've worked on, this coin reflects their skill and artistry in showing extraordinary detail, movement and poignancy in a design
What of Alice Paul? Born into a Quaker family in New Jersey, the idea of public service was deeply ingrained during her childhood. Unusually for the time, Quakers saw all people as equal in the eyes of God, and it was perhaps this belief that was the inspiration behind Alice's life work. Accompanied by her mother, Alice attended meetings of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from a young age. Alice was also encouraged in her education, gaining first a bachelor's degree in Biology, then working as a social worker, before gaining a Master's degree
Alice traveled to England where she became aware of the more strident factions within the women's movement, participating in marches of the Women's Social and Political Union(WSPU) and hearing Christabel Pankhurst speak. More than ever, Alice felt that social work she'd been involved in wouldn't bring about the change in society that she sought; and that only legislation enshrining equal rights would work. Alice subsequently became more actively involved in acts of civil disobedience and was arrested seven times and imprisoned three times.
Upon returning to the U.S. Alice campaigned tirelessly for change. Women earned the right to vote in 1920, in the wake of the 19thAmendment. It was a change that Alice had been instrumental in bringing about. However,
Alice did not stop campaigning for equality, continuing her campaigning until her death in 1974. Whether or not you agree with Alice's inclusion in the First Spouse series, she is certainly a figure who's left a lasting impression on society and deserves to be celebrated.
Overview of the 2012 $10 Alice Paul First Spouse MS70: