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Almost time to say 'Hello, Dolley'
November 13, 2007

The fourth and final Presidential dollar coin of 2007 will be officially released to circulation in two days on Nov. 15.

While I suppose I should be reflecting on James Madison as the Father of the Constitution, I find my mind wandering to his wife Dolley and the question of whether her First Spouse gold coins will sell out.

The market has a way of overcoming sensible historical reflection with the question, "Can I make money on that?" This question isn't asked by just the eBay posse, but they certainly are the leading proponents of buying Mint products, charging them on credit cards and dumping the purchase on eBay before either the bill has arrived or delivery has taken place.

My intentions were certainly good. I even bought another book about the Founding Fathers to learn a little more about them. That has been a standard approach to my reading this year. I haven't limited myself to it, but I keep coming back to the topic of America's early years.

Dolley Madison is worthy of more thought than the First Spouse buyers might give her. She not only saved Washington's portrait ahead of the British burning the White House in 1814, she was a wonderful and complementary personality to her husband, who was painfully shy. Imagine that. A successful politician who was shy. We can thank his wife for some of that.

Will the gold First Spouse coins sell out? I don't know. But they do honor someone worthy of the attention.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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