100 Greatest Women On Coins Series: Abigail Adams

It is always nice to be able to look back at some of the most influential women of our history, especially this nation’s history. When it comes to the United States of America, First Ladies are in that category of influence and those that first bore the title are of utmost significance. Along with author Ron Guth, we will take a closer peek at the life of the second woman to hold the First Lady position as told in Whitman Publishing’s 100 Greatest Women on Coins publication. Although the second to hold the title, she was part of a very important first in the history of the United States.

#21 – Abigail Adams

Born November 1744 in Weymouth in the Province of Massachusetts (a British colony at the time), Abigail Smith was homeschooled by her mother Elizabeth as she was often sick. Using the large family library available to them, Abigail became quite smart despite the lack of formal education. She would eventually grow up and marry her third cousin and country lawyer, John Adams, in 1764. John would be sent to Europe in 1788 on diplomatic orders, taking him away from Abigail and his family. However, she would join him in France in 1784-1785.

By 1796, John became the second President of the United States. Abigail and their family would move with him to Philadelphia (the nation’s capital at the time). The White House was still being constructed initially, but the family would finally move into the residency in 1800 as the first family to do so. Abigail took on her role as First Lady with sincerity, hosting formal dinners for guests visiting the presidential mansion and the new White House.

Also the mother of the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, Abigail is the most known about First Lady thanks to several correspondences between her and her husband. This led to a television series created in 2008 that gave viewers a first-hand look at Abigail.

In 2007, the US Mint would issue the first coins of the Presidential $1 Coin Program that honored the terms of past presidents. In addition, they would also create and issue an accompanying $10 Gold Coin First Spouse series. Abigail was featured on the obverse of that coin with the image taken from a painting that was done by Gilbert Stuart. The reverse of the coin shows a young Abigail, a pen in her hand as she gathers and writes her thoughts. The inscription “Remember the Ladies” references a quote from a letter that she wrote to her husband, John, in 1776 when she asked him to “treat women favorably in the laws of the new nation.” In addition to the gold coin, the Mint also made a companion Bronze First Spouse medal which utilized the same design but with few legends.

Collecting difficulty for the Abigail Adams First Spouse gold coin is easy, according to author Ron Guth. The coin is expensive, but that is due to it containing half an ounce of gold. The Bronze First Spouse Medal is more affordable and within collecting reach of most.