The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 33, August 13, 2017, Article 17


In a recent series of columns published on the Mint News Blog, Dennis Tucker describes his favorite designs by recently-retired U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Don Everhart. Here are some excerpts. -Editor

If you collect modern U.S. coins, or if you use coins in day-to-day business, you’ve seen and touched the artwork of one of America’s great living sculptors, Don Everhart.

Don joined the staff of sculptor-engravers at the Philadelphia Mint in January 2004, following a career as a designer and sculptor at the Franklin Mint and as a freelance artist creating figurines, plates, coins, medals, and other works for companies such as Walt Disney Co. and Tiffany, and for international mints such as the Royal Norwegian Mint and the British Royal Mint.

I got to know Don in recent years over the course of several visits to the Philadelphia Mint. Whitman Publishing numismatic director Q. David Bowers and I went to Philadelphia to meet the Mint’s engraving staff, tour the production areas, and research in the archives. More recently, since joining the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee in 2016, I’ve benefited from Don’s expertise as he advised the CCAC on technical and artistic questions.

Don Everhart designed and/or sculpted more than 100 coins and medals for the United States—a remarkable portfolio ranging from State quarters to silver and gold commemoratives and Congressional Gold Medals, among others. This week, in a series of articles for Mint News Blog, I’ll explore some of my favorite Everhart designs, starting with his first U.S. coin, the 2006 State quarter for Nevada.

Nevada State Quarter, 2006

2006 50 State Quarters Coin Nevada Uncirculated Reverse

By 2005 the State quarter series was well under way and it included some finely done and nicely balanced designs. But it also included a few that collectors considered bland, cluttered, or even awkward, with state symbols jumbled together in a hodgepodge. The Mint’s artists were somewhat constrained by guidance received by the states’ governors, who decided on motifs and themes based on input from commissions and the public. This led to, for example, Arkansas’ quarter featuring a faceted diamond, marshlands, a flying mallard duck, and stalks of rice. Try putting all of that onto a one-inch canvas!

As he worked on the 2006 Nevada quarter in 2005, Don Everhart had a menu of specific design elements that he had to use: wild horses, sagebrush, the sun rising over the mountains, and the phrase THE SILVER STATE. Artfully combining these elements, he created a tableau that is, in my opinion, one of the most dramatic and effective in the State quarter program. The wild horses, for which Nevada is famous, are shown in energetic motion. The mountains and rising sun are placed in the central background. The mountains are solid and have depth and texture, but they don’t distract from the main scene. Rather they subtly add to its context. Everhart used the sagebrush, another well-known symbol of the American West, to frame the central composition, placing THE SILVER STATE on a banner front and center, tying the elements together. Adding to the dramatic action of the design, the horse in front is actually leaping over the banner, as if jumping off the coin.

This was a remarkable first coinage design—but it was just the beginning.

To read the complete article, see:
Don Everhart has retired. Here are some of my favorite Everhart medal and coin designs. (

The Women Airforce Service Pilots Bronze Medal, 2009

2009 Women Airforce Service Pilots Bronze Medal Reverse

For the medal’s reverse, Don Everhart positioned three aircraft—an AT-6, a B-26 (Martin Marauder), and a P-51—along with the WASP wings emblem and several inscriptions as mandated. The design is exquisitely detailed, with a lightly textured field, and carefully balanced with a nice use of negative space. The positioning of the planes in foreground, middle-background, and background give the design a dramatic sense of movement, depth, and interaction. The text is also well balanced, a technical and artistic challenge with so much wording (THE FIRST WOMEN IN HISTORY TO FLY AMERICAN MILITARY AIRCRAFT and ACT OF CONGRESS 2009).

Everhart made skillful use of the “canvas” available to U.S. medals, which are struck on mint presses different from those used for producing billions of circulating coins. Medal presses apply greater pressure and they strike larger planchets—the bronze versions of this Congressional Gold Medal, available for sale to the public, are up to three inches in diameter, much larger and thicker than any circulating U.S. coin. In Everhart’s design the wings of the AT-6, the dominant figure in the composition, fly off the sides of the medal as if the plane is about to leave its bronze surface and take to the air. The effect is dynamic and breathtaking.

To read the complete article, see:
Favorite Everhart medal and coin designs, part 2: The Women Airforce Service Pilots Bronze Medal reverse (

The Presidential Dollar’s Statue of Liberty, 2007–2016

2016 Presidential Dollar Coin Uncirculated Reverse

The obverse portraits changed with each president, but the reverse of the coinage series was used on every Presidential dollar minted from 2007 to 2016. Don Everhart created a bold view of the Statue of Liberty, described by the Mint as “a magnificent image.” The statue, Liberty Enlightening the World, is depicted from the perspective of a viewer below, looking up to Miss Liberty holding aloft the torch that represents enlightenment on the way to freedom. The motif is finely detailed and the entire composition, including the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the denomination shown as $1, is well balanced.

For its artistry and for its significant place in American numismatics—as the reverse featured on every coin in the Presidential dollar series, a 10-year program of the nation’s largest-denomination circulating coin—this ranks as one of Don Everhart’s greatest designs.

To read the complete article, see:
Favorite Everhart medal and coin designs, part 3: The Statue of Liberty reverse, Presidential dollar series (

The Dolley Madison First Spouse Gold Coin, 2007


The fourth and final First Spouse coin of 2007 returned to real-life portraiture with a gently smiling visage of Dolley Madison on the obverse, and an artful full-body standing portrait on the reverse. The latter captures the First Lady in the midst of saving the executive mansion’s Cabinet papers and the famous Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington from seizure by advancing British troops in August 1814. Collectors remarked on the attractiveness of the reverse tableau.

As the First Spouse series and other U.S. Mint programs continued, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee increasingly pushed for symbolic rather than pictorial coinage designs. The idea was to move away from “pictures or photographs on coins” and into the realm of artistic allegory. Even though Joel Iskowitz’s reverse design is in the “picture on a coin” category, it succeeds not least of all because of the rich, wonderful texture and sculptural depth imparted in Don Everhart’s engraving. Dolley Madison’s hair, her clothing, the painting of George Washington—Everhart captured every detail. The nuances are particularly visible in the Uncirculated version of the coin.

To read the complete article, see:
Favorite Everhart medal and coin designs, part 4: The Dolley Madison First Spouse gold coin (

The 2006 Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal

ASE_ch2_lama-medal_obv ASE_ch2_Lama-medal_rev

The obverse is a beautiful portrait designed and rendered by Don Everhart. Don was my second in command and could model a portrait faster than anyone I ever knew. He is also one of the premier medallic artists in the industry. This is a wonderfully balanced piece. The simplicity of the reverse perfectly reflects the simple life of the Dalai Lama.

The 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins

360_C_2014_BaseHOF_W_05d_o 361_C_2014_BaseHOF_W_05d_r

Although the United States has issued many gold commemorative coins from 1903 to date, including dozens in the modern era since 1984, the novelty of one in particular warrants its inclusion in this chapter. In 2014 the U.S. Mint released a suite of three commemorative coins—a half dollar, silver dollar, and $5 gold piece—celebrating the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. These coins are unique in that they were the first-ever curved coins produced by the Mint. Their obverses are concave, to recreate the cupped curvature of a baseball glove, and their reverses are convex, like the surface of a ball.

Other world mints had created curved coins before, but for the United States Mint these coins were an innovation. Don Everhart sculpted the concave baseball-glove side of the coins based on a design idea by Cassie McFarland. He designed and sculpted the convex baseball side. These coins captured the imagination of the American public and made national headlines in a way that few other modern coins have.

The coins and medals we’ve explored this week are just a sampling of Don Everhart’s work for the United States Mint. Over the course of almost 14 years he designed and/or engraved more than 100 works of art for the American people. Everyone at Whitman Publishing wishes Don a long and happy retirement—or semi-retirement, at least, as he continues sculpting and designing in the private sector while spending more free time with his family. And we extend our grateful thanks for a productive career that gave the United States many excellent coins and medals to collect and enjoy.

To read the complete article, see:
Favorite Everhart medal and coin designs, part 5: The Dalai Lama medal and National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins (

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