The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 7, February 13, 2022, Article 19


With permission, we're republishing excerpts of former U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart series published by CoinWeek beginning in April 2018. Last week Don wrote about how he came to enter a design contest for the second Clinton inaugural medal. -Editor

everhart Clinton Inaugural medal obverse I worked for six weeks on the project and waited about a month until one day I received a call from Bob. I picked up the phone and waited in silence for quite a while until he uttered, Congratulations!

Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

I always enjoyed working from my own studio. I was my own boss and I could work my own hours. No commute, no early morning wake up call, etc. Most all the time I was very busy, and when I wasn't busy I hustled to get more work. Many days were spent on the phone or trips to New York for the annual giftware shows at the Javitts Center.

I always felt very lucky. Whenever I was slow and really needed to pick up commissions, they always seemed to happen. Of course, you make your own breaks, and I never hesitated to make it happen. Having a mortgage, car payments, a wife and kids has a way of motivating a young artist.

Sometime in the early 1980s I became a member of the fledgling American Medallic Art Association (AMSA). The organization works to encourage the creation, study and appreciation of the American fine art medal. Back in the beginning there weren't many members and I remember the group meeting in Domenico Facci's studio in Manhattan. We were united in our admiration and the continuation of the art of the medal in the United States and abroad. Through the years the organization continued to grow and now numbers about 133 members.

Despite the ubiquitous nature of technology today, the medal endures. In the beginning it was a vehicle to praise leaders and disseminate the news of the day. It's no longer where we get our news, but it survives because it is such a unique personal experience for the viewer. Unlike most sculpture exhibits with roped off sections and guards to prevent one from touching the work, the medal encourages touch. One can hold it in one's hand and marvel at the art. Many medals by top sculptors can be purchased for a fraction of what one would pay to own a larger piece.

Additionally, it has yet another dimension: the dimension of time. As one turns the medal over from obverse to reverse a segment of time is revealed. I utilized this idea to the max with my dinosaur series. As you turn over the obverse of the Tyrannosaurus Rex medal, you encounter the reverse–in this case the fossilized remains–65 million years later.

AMSA now has a worldwide following due to hard work and its participation in FIDEM (Federation International de la Medaille d'Art) exhibitions. The exhibitions are held every two years in a different European city, with occasional excursions to the United States and Canada. There you will see how different artists from different counties interpret the art medal. It's an enlightening experience to say the least. I have exhibited in a few and attended shows in London and Colorado Springs.

Everhart Crocodile Rock Not everything I have done is a commission. Back in the 1990s I produced a number of pieces for exhibit that attempted to stretch the boundaries of medallic art. Some were freestanding, non-round portrayals of reptiles such as Crocodile Rock and Chameleon. Unfortunately, I haven't produced much for myself lately but am hoping my retirement will afford me more time to work on my own art.

Around the early 2000s, freelance work began to diminish. This was due to a number of reasons.

One, giftware companies that I worked for were now shipping their sculpt projects to the Orient.

Two, The Franklin Mint had saturated the market with coins and the new ownership decided to sell other products instead. They sold dolls, model cars, books, food! Everything but coins. At any rate, I could see the handwriting on the wall – I was going to have to get a real job! I always had it in the back of my mind since I began sculpting coins and medals that somehow, I would wind up at the U.S. Mint.

Everhart Chameleon That idea became a reality on January 4, 2004, when I got up out of bed at 5am on a Monday morning and drove an hour in the dark to my new position as a Sculptor-Engraver at the United States Mint.

It's been a long, strange trip from that day when I walked into the gallery on South Street. Sometimes you make a decision and it turns out to be a monumental, life-changing experience.

Sometimes you have no idea of the ramifications it will have on your life path.

To read the complete original article, see:
Don Everhart: My Career in Coins, Part 1 – The Franklin Mint (

You can see more of Don's sculpture and design work on his website:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
Don Everhart's Career in Coins, Part 2 (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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