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U.S. coin series will feature women, for a change

December 17, 2006|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Not to be outdone by their husbands, the nation's first ladies will get their chance to shine on U.S. coins.

Starting next year, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams and the rest will appear on a new series of gold coins. It will be the first time the U.S. Mint has produced a series featuring women.

A new presidential series will be on $1 circulating coins, and the wives will be on half-ounce gold coins likely to sell for more than $300 apiece.

Both coins were authorized by Congress in 2005, with lawmakers modeling the $1 coin series after the Mint's popular 50-state quarters.

The hope is that changing the images every three months will help the maligned dollar coin achieve acceptance. The Susan B. Anthony dollar, introduced in 1979, and the Sacagawea, introduced in 2000, have both been flops.

The half-ounce gold coins have been designed to appeal primarily to collectors, although the Mint will be offering bronze replicas that will sell for $3 to $4.

The first four coins are scheduled to go on sale around Mother's Day, but the public will get a first look at the designs at an unveiling ceremony Tuesday at the National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio.

The series' first coin features a stern-looking Martha Washington wearing a bonnet on one side; the other will have a depiction of her mending a soldier's jacket and the phrase: "First Lady of the Continental Army."

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