For the first time in history, the U.S. Mint is dedicating a series of coins to the accomplishments of women the nation's first ladies.
Starting with Martha Washington, wife of the first president, George Washington, all the first ladies are scheduled to be honored on a series of one-half ounce gold coins that will be companions to a new series of $1 coins that the Mint is producing to honor the presidents.
Mint Director Edmund Moy was unveiling the designs on the first four coins at a ceremony Tuesday at the National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio.
Both the presidential one-dollar coins and the series honoring the first ladies were authorized in 2005 by Congress. Four new coins honoring presidents in the order they served will be introduced every three months beginning next year.
The first ladies coins for next year are all coming out in May just before Americans celebrate Mother's Day with the Mint hoping to generate sales of the coins, expected to cost more than $300 (Ђ229) each, tied to the special day.
There will be a less expensive bronze medal duplicate of each of the coins in the spouse series offered for a more affordable $3 to $4.
The designs on the first coins show the first ladies were an energetic group.
Martha Washington, wife of the first U.S. president, George Washington, is depicted mending a soldier's uniform while Dolley Madison, wife of James Madison, is shown in front of the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington that she saved before the British burned the White House in the War of 1812.
Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, the second president, is shown writing a letter to her husband with the inscription, "Remember the ladies." That was her request in a letter she wrote to Adams when he was a delegate to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776.
Thomas Jefferson was one of five presidents who did not have spouses when they served in the White House. Jefferson's wife had died in 1782 before he became president in 1801, reports AP.
The gold coin for his administration will feature a symbolic Lady Liberty, an image taken from a half-cent in circulation at the time Jefferson was president.
The Mint is hoping that the $1 presidential coins, which will start coming out in February next year, will prove to be as big a hit with the public as the popular 50-state quarter series.