First, the James Buchanan $1 Coin Rolls were released by the US Mint recently on Thursday, August 19th, 2010. Buyers have their choice of a roll of 25 coins struck to circulation quality at either the US Mint's facility in Denver or a roll of 25 coins struck to circulation quality at the US Mint's facility in Philadelphia. Either choice is available for the price of $35.95, plus the Mint's standard handling charge of $4.95 per order.
Featured on the obverse (heads side) of the Buchanan $1 Coin is a portrait of the former President. It was designed by United States Mint Sculptor / Engraver Phebe Hemphill. The reverse (tails side) of the strike contains the standard design found on the reverse of all of the Presidential $1 coins - the Statue of Liberty. It was the work of United States Mint Sculptor / Engraver Don Everhart.
Premiering this coming Thursday (September 2, 2010), is the Buchanan Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin. Typically, the First Spouse series honors the spouse of a former president. However, as Buchanan never married, the coin tied to his administration features an image of Liberty on the obverse of the coin instead.
This Liberty was designed by Christian Gobrecht and was originally featured on the Liberty Head Quarter Eagle from 1840-1907. The reverse shows a scene from the life of Buchanan - in this instance, a young Buchanan working as a bookkeeper in his family's small store. It was designed by David Westwood and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
A price has not yet been set for the release of these Buchanan Liberty Coins. That is because these coins are struck from one half ounce of .9999 pure gold. As with all of the precious metal numismatic strikes from the Mint, the debut price will be linked to the Mint's pricing matrix which ties the cost of the precious metal coins to the previous week's average London Fix. For reference, the current price of Spouse Coins available now stands at $779 for the proof coins and $766 for the uncirculated varieties.