Donald Everhart, now retired from the U.S. Mint, is widely known in the coin community for his design work. He has signed labels for NGC to be sealed with certain graded coins, joining other popular members from the numismatic community. Read more about Everhart and his lifetime achievement award.
Who Is Donald Everhart?
Donald Everhart, who retired from the U.S. Mint in 2017 as the mint’s lead sculptor-engraver after working there 14 years (from 2004 to 2017), has had a long career as an artist, coin designer and medallic sculptor that began in the 1970s.
After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in painting from Kutztown State University in Pennsylvania, he worked from 1975 to 1980 at the Franklin Mint, where he started out as a layout designer. He has said that this period is when he really developed his skills in designing and sculpting coins in part by observing the work of other artists and striving to be as good as they were.
In an interview he did last year, he said that some of the main influences on his work are Gilroy Roberts, the U.S. Mint’s 9th chief engraver, who designed the profile of JFK that appears on the obverse of the Kennedy half dollar, and Philip Nathan, a well-known British designer best known for his work on the Britannia series. Both artists worked at the Franklin Mint when Everhart was there.
In addition, artists from the Brookgreen Gardens sculpture workshop such as Heidi Hastweet and the Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles that were popular in France just before World War I, such as the work of famous painter Alphonse Mucha, were also inspirational for Everhart. And at the U.S. Mint he worked closely with John Mercanti, the former chief engraver, and with artists such as Phoebe Hemphill.
Asked to describe his particular artistic style, he said it is literal and figurative and that his favorite themes include nature, animals, and especially portraits or profiles, which he considers to be his strong suit, having designed many coins with male and female profiles.
Over the course of his career, Everhart has sculpted close to 1,500 coins and medals for various world and private mints, including over 100 for the U.S. Mint, making him the most prolific Mint artist along with John Mercanti, who produced about the same number of U.S. coins and medals.
From circulating coins like the 50 State quarters and Presidential $1 coin series to commemoratives such as several of the $10 gold First Spouse coins and the 2016 National Parks 100th anniversary gold coin and Congressional gold medals such as the one for the Dalai Lama, he has created designs for a wide range of U.S. Mint products and often sculpted them too, or sculpted the designs of other mint artists.
Some of Everhart’s best-known U.S. Mint designs includes the concave common reverse of the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame silver, gold, and clad coins, which received the Krause Publications’ Coin of the Year Award in 2016 ; the reverse of the 2015 March of Dimes silver dollar, which is based on a photograph of his grandson and which won a Coin of the Year Award in 2017 for most inspirational coin; and the 2018 World War I Centennial silver dollar, which he sculpted from the designs of Utah artist LeRoy Transfield, as well as the accompanying medal for the U.S. Army, which he also sculpted.
Asked to name his favorite U.S. Mint projects, he said they include, among others, the Nevada state quarter and medals for Constantino Brumidi and Womens’ Air Force Service; and the inaugural medals for Presidents Clinton and Obama, which were presented to both presidents during ceremonies at which he was present.
In November 2017, NGC announced that Everhart would join a select group of former U.S. Mint officials and artists who have hand-signed certification labels for their coins, including John Mercanti and Elizabeth Jones, the 12th and 11th chief engravers and Edmund Moy, the 38th Director of the U.S. Mint and the last to hold the position after receiving a presidential nomination and confirmation by the U.S. Senate. MCM now has a selection of these labels available!
After a break that lasted nearly 30 years, the U.S. Mint began what is called the “Modern Commemorative Era” with the launch of the 1982 George Washington Half Dollar. This coin celebrated the 250th anniversary of his death.
Lifetime Achievement Award
During the recent World Money Fair held in Berlin, Germany, Everhart, who has received many awards in his career such as the American Numismatic Association’s Sculptor of the Year award, received a very special Lifetime Achievement Award in Coin Design on Feb. 3.
The award underscored how much his reputation for coin design and sculpting excellence is something that is recognized not just within his own country but also internationally.
Because he was unable to be there in person, Donald Scarinci, a member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, accepted the award on Everhart’s behalf and gave some remarks prepared by Everhart.
These comments included that Everhart felt humbled by the award and that he was indebted to the U.S. Mint. He also thanked the other people he worked with during his 13 ½ years there, who allowed him to work on a trade he loves so much.
He relayed a story about the Nevada state quarter reverse design that he created. When he received one in change at the U.S. Mint cafeteria, he told the cashier he designed the coin. In response, the cashier said: “Sure you did.”
He also said that receiving this award must mean that he has accomplished something and that he is getting old and that the award gives him a sense of satisfaction he can’t fully convey.