Sarah Polk made many contributions to Washington, D.C. in her time as First Lady. Sarah wrote speeches, prioritized news, and served as the personal secretary to her husband. She opened the White House twice a week for the public and personally greeted each person attending. Her husband, James, died 3 months after leaving office. Sarah wore black every day until she died 42 years later.
Phebe Hemphill designed and sculpted both the obverse and the reverse of the Sarah Polk coins. The obverse shows a portrait of Sarah while the reverse has Sarah and her husband President James Polk working diligently in the White House.