Donald Everhart II, the last member of the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff to officially hold the title of sculptor-engraver, retired July 31 after a 13-and-a-half-year stint as a federal government artist.
Everhart’s last work day at the Philadelphia Mint was July 27.
Everhart, 68, said he will continue his artistic pursuits with private commissions and is looking forward to the challenges. While he will miss seeing his colleagues and friends at the Philadelphia Mint daily, he says he won’t miss the arduous daily trek from his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to work in the City of Brotherly Love.
Everhart joined the Mint’s employ in January 2004.
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The Mint’s engraving staff members design and sculpture their own designs if chosen for a specific coin or medal, and also must sculpture adopted designs when rendered by the outside artists that comprise the U.S. Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program.
‘It was time’
In a July telephone interview with Coin World, Everhart said, “I felt in my heart it was time to go,” explaining that he decided to retire from the engraving staff but continue private artistic projects.
Everhart said he also wants to spend more quality time with his family.
Born in York, Pennsylvania, Everhart earned a bachelor of fine arts in painting from Kutztown State University in 1972. The following year, Everhart joined the Franklin Mint as a designer where he held a staff sculptor position for five years.
Everhart said he initially joined the Franklin Mint as a paste-up artist, but took a particular interest in watching the sculptors at work. Everhart said he began to mimic the artistry, but in his own style, before eventually being elevated to a sculptor’s post.
In March 1980, Everhart left the Franklin Mint to pursue a freelance career. During this period, his work included figurines, plates, coins, and medals for Walt Disney, Tiffany, the Royal Norwegian Mint, and the Royal Mint.
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Everhart has received numerous commissions. Most notable of these is Georgetown University’s Sports Hall of Fame, a 24-piece bronze installation.
In addition to international exhibitions, Everhart’s work is included in several permanent collections, including the Smithsonian Institution, the British Museum, the American Numismatic Society and the National Sculpture Society.
Everhart was recognized in 1994 by the American Numismatic Association with its Sculptor of the Year Award in 1994.
In 1997, his design submission was chosen as the official inaugural medal for President Clinton’s second term.
Everhart is a former president of the American Medallic Sculpture Association (1993 to 1994) and is a fellow member of the National Sculpture Society.
Hundreds of credits
Everett’s designing and sculpturing credits during his tenure on the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff number in the hundreds.
Various circulating U.S. coins, commemorative coins, congressional gold medals and other medallic works are credited to Everhart as both the designer and sculptor or as the sculptor only.
Among the designs that hold a special place for Everhart in his artistic repertoire are the reverse of the 2015 March of Dimes silver dollar; the common convex baseball reverse for the three-coin 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin program; the obverse and reverse of the 2016 President Obama, Second Term presidential medal; and the obverse and reverse for the 2008 Constantino Brumidi congressional gold medal.
Everhart models designs by using clay to build up the desired relief. Those designs can then be digitally imported into a computer program for final production adjustments before master dies are cut for working hubs and working dies.
A grandson as ‘model’
Everhart is particularly proud of his design for the reverse of the 2015-P March of Dimes silver dollar, which has an especially personal connection. The design is based on a photograph of Everhart’s youngest grandson, Jackson Barmby, being held on June 8, 2012, by his father, Jon Barmby, soon after Jackson’s birth. The photo was taken by Jackson’s mother, who is Everhart’s daughter, Cristina Everhart Barmby, an accomplished photographer. June 8 also is Cristina’s birthday.
Since the coin’s production, Everhart said another grandson, Jackson’s older brother, Tyler Barmby, has prodded him with the question, “Pop-Pop, when am I going to get MY coin?”
Throwing a curve ball
The convex reverse for the National Baseball Hall of Fame coins presented challenges that the designers and production personnel at the U.S. Mint had never before faced.
“During the design process of the convex Hall of Fame Baseball Commemorative Coin reverse I had to be aware of several considerations.
“First of all, I wanted to take advantage of the convex curved surface. This meant making the seams and the lettering look like they were on a true three-dimensional surface.
“The seams had to be true to an actual Major League baseball in that they had to follow a definite pattern. The stitching pattern was important because the layman may not recognize it but the Baseball Hall of Fame certainly would.
“When the stitches are pointing to the right, the bottom stitch must be in front of the top stitch at the actual seam.
“I wanted the lettering to look like it was conforming to the actual shape of a Major League baseball. To that end, I created a vector sphere with latitude and longitudinal lines on it. Then I had to match the letters to the conformity of the vector lines. This sounds relatively simple, but with much trial and error, and with the use of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, I finally achieved the look I wanted.
“I also had to make three different versions with three different denominations, one for gold, one for silver, and one for the clad.
“When I was finally satisfied with my set of designs, all of our designs were submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.
“My designs were chosen and at that point I proceeded to produce the sculpture model that was used for production dies of the three denominations.”
Everhart designed and sculptured the reverse for President Obama’s First Term bronze presidential medal struck by the U.S. Mint, but designed and sculptured both obverse and reverse for the Second Term medal.
Everhart said he was privileged to be able to present the Second Term medal to President Obama at the White House on Jan. 17, 2017. U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Phebe Hemphill presented the First Term medal to President Obama, the obverse of which she designed and sculptured.
Everhart’s reverse design for Constantino Brumidi’s congressional gold medal captures Brumidi’s execution of Apotheosis of George Washington on the ceiling of the Capitol Rotunda dome.
Everhart said the design took a long time to draw and even longer to sculpture, to catch all of the intricate details in Brumidi’s original work on the Capitol Rotunda dome.
“It’s a trial and error process before you submit the work,” Everhart says of his medallic translation. “The final product speaks for itself.”
Changes at the Mint
Everhart joined the Mint shortly after Charles L. Vickers was also hired as a sculptor-engraver in December 2003. Vickers retired March 31, 2016.
Jim Licaretz, who served two stints on the Mint’s engraving staff, first as a sculptor-engraver and then as a medallic sculptor for his second stint, retired Dec. 31, 2016.
With Everhart’s departure, the Mint’s engraving staff drops to just four — Phebe Hemphill, Renata Gordon, Joseph F. Menna and Michael Gaudioso.
While the Mint’s website identifies the remaining four members of the Mint’s engraving staff as sculptor-engravers, Menna was hired with the title “medallic artist” while Gordon, Hemphill and Gaudioso were hired with the title “medallic sculptor.”
U.S. Mint officials have not disclosed what steps are being taken to fill the vacancies created by the retirements of Vickers, Licaretz and Everhart. The Mint is currently subject to a hiring freeze imposed by the Trump administration.
Here is a list of Everhart's credits as a Mint sculptor-engraver:
Design and Sculpting Credits
The Secretary of the Treasury selected these designs for use on a coin or medal. The artist also executed the sculpts required to produce these coins and medals.
2016 Presidential $1 Coins – Richard Nixon obverse
2016 National Park Service 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin – obverse
2016 National Park Service 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin – reverse
2015 Presidential $1 Coins – Harry S. Truman obverse
2015 Presidential $1 Coins – John F. Kennedy obverse
2015 March of Dimes Silver Dollar – reverse
2015 Jack Nicklaus Congressional Gold Medal – obverse
2014 American Fighter Aces Congressional Gold Medal – reverse
2014 Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal – obverse
2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program – Silver obverse
2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program – Silver reverse
2014 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin™ Program – Great Sand Dunes National Park reverse
2014 America the Beautiful Quarters® Program – Great Sand Dunes National Park reverse
2013 Presidential $1 Coins – Woodrow Wilson obverse
2013 America the Beautiful Quarters® Program – Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial – reverse
2013 First Spouse Gold Coin and Medal Program – Ellen Wilson reverse
2012 Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Gold Medal – obverse
2012 Presidential $1 Coins – Chester Arthur obverse
2012 Presidential $1 Coins – Grover Cleveland (Term 1) obverse
2012 Presidential $1 Coins – Grover Cleveland (Term 2) obverse
2011 Presidential $1 Coins – Rutherford B. Hayes obverse
2011 Presidential $1 Coins – Ulysses. S. Grant obverse
2011 Presidential $1 Coins – Andrew Johnson obverse
2011 Montford Point Marines Congressional Gold Medal reverse
2010 Presidential $1 Coins – Millard Fillmore obverse
2010 Presidential $1 Coins – Abraham Lincoln obverse
2010 America the Beautiful Quarters® Program – Yellowstone National Park reverse
2010 American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Silver Dollar – obverse
2010 Nisei Soldiers of World War II Congressional Gold Medal – reverse
2009 Presidential $1 Coins – Zachary Taylor obverse
2009 Women Airforce Service Pilots Congressional Gold Medal – reverse
2008 Arnold Palmer Congressional Gold Medal – obverse
2008 Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Gold Medal – Ho-Chunk Nation reverse
2008 Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Gold Medal – Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux obverse
2008 Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Gold Medal – Pawnee Nation obverse
2008 50 State Quarters® Program – New Mexico reverse
2008 50 State Quarters® Program – Hawaii reverse
2008 Constantino Brumidi Congressional Gold Medal – obverse
2008 Constantino Brumidi Congressional Gold Medal – reverse
2008 Senator Edward William Brooke Congressional Gold Medal – obverse
2007 Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Congressional Gold Medal – obverse
2007 Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Congressional Gold Medal – reverse
2007 First Spouse Gold Coin and Medal Program – Dolley Madison reverse
2007 Little Rock High School Commemorative Coin – Silver reverse
2007 Presidential $1 Coins – Statue of Liberty common – reverse
2006 50 State Quarters® Program – Nevada reverse
2006 Benjamin Franklin Commemorative Coin – Founding Father Silver Dollar obverse
2006 Henry M. Paulsen Medal – reverse
2006 John Snow Medal – reverse
2006 Byron Nelson Congressional Gold Medal – reverse
2006 Tuskegee Airmen Congressional Gold Medal – reverse
2006 Michael E. DeBakey, M.D. Congressional Gold Medal – obverse
2006 Michael E. DeBakey, M.D. Congressional Gold Medal – reverse
2005 Norman Borlaug Congressional Gold Medal – reverse
2005 Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal – obverse