Updated 8/8/17 at noon to correct the statement that Don Everhart designed the obverse and reverse of the Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal. The designer and sculptor of the reverse was Joseph Menna.
Don Everhart, the United States Mint’s senior sculptor-engraver, retired from his position in Philadelphia last week. This week I’m exploring some of my favorite Everhart medal and coin designs and engravings.On Tuesday I showed the 2006 State quarter for Nevada; on Wednesday, the 2009 Women Airforce Service Pilots medal; on Thursday, the Statue of Liberty reverse of the Presidential dollar series; on Friday, two coins in the First Spouse gold program. Today: two more examples of Everhart’s art, a sampling of more than 100 coins and medals he worked on during his tenure at the Mint.
The 2006 Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal
In chapter 2 (“Behind the Scenes at the U.S. Mint”) of American Silver Eagles: A Guide to the U.S. Bullion Coin Program, retired U.S. Mint chief engraver John Mercanti describes a few examples of what he considers good coin and medal designs. One of the medals he showcases is the Congressional Gold Medal commemorating the Dalai Lama of Tibet. The obverse of the medal were designed by Everhart (the reverse was designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna). Mercanti writes:
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
In my 2016 book American Gold and Silver, I described a unique group of three commemorative coins:
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.
“These coins commemorate important aspects of American history and culture,” said U.S. Mint Deputy Director Richard A. Peterson. “This is a great way to connect with America’s pastime.” The nation agreed, with the coins making headlines from coast to coast and collectors buying more than 50,000 in total. In comparison, the Mint sold 25,000 of its 2011 U.S. Army commemorative $5 gold pieces.
On the opening day of sales, March 27, 2014, the Whitman Baltimore Coin & Collectibles Expo and the U.S. Mint Sales Center at Mint headquarters in Washington, DC, were the only two places where collectors could hand over payment and immediately receive the coins. Baseball Hall of Famer and legendary Baltimore Orioles defensive third-baseman Brooks Robinson was on hand at the Whitman Expo to celebrate the coins’ launch.
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.