Donald Nelson Everhart II was born in York, Pennsylvania on August 19, 1949. During his childhood, Everhart developed an interest and talent for the arts, particularly in painting and sculpting. He graduated from Central York High School in 1967 and went on to further his studies in art in college at the Kutztown State University. Over the next 5 years honing professional talent and experience, he graduated in 1972 with a Bachelors Degree of Fine Art in Painting. The next year in 1973, Don was able to land a job at the private Franklin Mint, working as a designer for coins and medals. After being promoted to staff sculptor, he continued working at the Mint for another 5 years. During his time there, he designed collectible coins for various nations, including the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Belize, Guyana, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Panama, Cook Islands, Netherlands Antilles, and a number of other places.
In 1980 at the age of 31 and after gaining much experience, he left the Franklin Mint and started working as a freelance designer and artist. Everhart created a number of pieces of art, including designs, figurines, sculptures, medals, coins and more. He gained very popular and well-known clients, including Walt Disney Company, Tiffany Company, the Hamilton Collection, Enesco, Schmid, Bradford Exchange, Medallic Art Company, Unicover Corporation and various colleges and universities, such as Georgetown University. At Georgetown, one of Don's notable works of art is a 24-piece bronze installation for their Sports Hall of Fame, including a life-sized bulldog mascot, and various bronze relief seals, plagues and medals for the university. Other Mints he did work for included Northwest Territorial Mint, Hamilton Mint, Hoffman Mint, Royal Norwegian Mint and the Royal British Mint.
One well known work that Don produced was a 25-coin set for the British Royal Mint between 1990 and 1991, the theme being the Marshall Islands and a World War II aircraft depicted on each coin. Also in his freelance career, he sculpted and modeled commemorative coins for the Royal Norwegian Mint. Don worked as a freelance artist for 24 years until 2004.
2004 marked the year that Don Everhart would begin his amazing career with the US Mint. In January of that year, he was hired as one of the 5 full-time sculptors who worked there. When he first joined, the 50 State Quarters program was well into production. Some of the first things he immediately got involved with was designing and modeling the reverses for various states on the 50 States and Territories Washington Quarters. He first worked on sculpting and modeling the 2005 California Quarter. It's important to note that some of the coins he worked on where sculpted, but not necessarily designed by Everhart. Although he did design, sculpt and engrave some of them as well. The California Quarter was not designed, but was sculpted by Don.
For the next 4 years, Everhart would model at least 1 quarter per year for the 50 state quarter program. The states included Nevada, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico and Hawaii. The 50 state program ended in 2008, but it was extended for another year to include the District of Columbia and US territories in 2009. Everhart was responsible for designing the District of Columbia (Washington DC) quarter.
On May 17, 2005, US Senator John E. Sununu introduced a bill to Congress to start a new coin program to honor the US Presidents, called the Presidential $1 Coin Program. The program would be similar to the 50 State Quarter Program except that a golden dollar would be used which would depict each president in the order of their inauguration, starting with the first US President, George Washington. The obverse of the coin would depict a new president every 3 months, 4 per year. The words "IN GOD WE TRUST" along with the name of the President and the dual dates of their term in office, would appear on the obverse as well.
The reverse of the coin would depict the Statue of Liberty and the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" along the rim, which would be used during every year of this program. The edge of the coin (between the obverse and reverse), would depict the current year and mint mark that the coin was minted in, 13 stars and our motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM". Noticeably absent is the word "LIBERTY", which was left out since the Statue of Liberty would convey the same message of Liberty. The new Presidential Dollar Coins would be very similar in appearance and size to the golden Sacagawea Dollars, and both of these golden dollar coin programs would run at the same time.
Don Everhart was responsible for the design and modeling for the Statue of Liberty, the common reverse that would appear on all Presidential dollar coins. In addition, Everhart designed many of the presidential obverses of these coins for various US Presidents, including James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses. S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland (1st term), Grover Cleveland (2nd term) and Woodrow Wilson.
These presidential coins were first released to the public on February 15, 2007 in honor of President's Day, just a few days later on Feburary 19th of that year. Also in 2007, the US Mint began it's program for the First Spouse Coins in which the first lady or spouse of each president was honored. These coins are half ounce pure gold US bullion coins with a $10 denomination. The obverse featured the spouse of the president during his term in office along with the words "IN GOD WE TRUST", "LIBERTY", the year and mint mark. The reverse of these coins depicted a unique design displaying the type of work or life that the first lady participated in. In addition, the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA", our motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM", $10 1/2 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD. Like the Presidential Dollars, only 4 spouses were depicted each year, each coin having a different obverse and reverse design. The Mint also produced bronze, collectible versions of these coins. Don Everhart had a hand in designing and/or sculpting some of these coins shown below.
After the 50 state quarter program ended in 2008 and the DC/US Territories quarter series ended in 2009, a new quarter program came out. The new series would be called the America the Beautiful Quarters, authorized by the America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 and signed into law by US President George W. Bush on December 23, 2008. The obverse would still depict William Cousins' Washington design on the common obverse of the Quarter, the same design used in the 50 state program. The only difference is that the reverse would depict a national park or site from each state. 5 different parks would be shown per year starting from 2010 through 2021. Based on the opinion of the US Treasury Secretary and American public, this series could be extended through 2033. Don Everhart again designed and/or sculpted a number of these coins and will likely design future coins which will be added to the list below.
Other coins that Everhart helped designed or sculpt was the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial Cent. The obverse of this coin depicts the standard bust of US President Lincoln, which has been used on the coin since 2009 and was designed by Victor D. Brenner. There were 4 different reverses used in 2009, the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Cent and the 200th anniversary (bicentennial) of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. The new reverse replaces the Lincoln Memorial displayed on the reverse of the Lincoln Memorial Cent. Don helped design the third reverse that year, with the theme: Professional life in Illinois. This coin depicts Lincoln standing in front of the Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. Designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart, this coin is sometimes known as the Illinois Penny.
Everhart also sculpted the reverse of the 2006 American Platinum Eagle bullion coin. The common obverse of this coin was designed by US Chief Engraver John Mercanti while the reverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz, the same person who designed the bicentennial Lincoln cent. Again, Don sculpted the reverse of this 2006 coin, a design that would show up on the various denominations of 1/10, 1/4, 1/2 and 1 ounce platinum coins. The reverse itself depicts a "Legislative Muse" sitting between two twin columns with eagles sitting on both columns, symbolizing the two legislative branches of the US Congress: The House of Representatives and Senate.
In 2005, the obverse of the Jefferson Nickel was changed for the first time in 67 years. Starting in 2003, the US Mint was running the Westward Journey Nickels program to commemorate the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition into the largely un-explored United States territories. On April 23, 2003, the American 5-Cent Coin Design Continuity Act of 2003 was signed into law by US President George W. Bush. Starting in 2004, the reverse was changed and two different designs were released that year, but the obverse still retained the original design of Jefferson created by Felix Schlag. Although in 2005, the obverse was changed for the first time in many decades, along with two more changes to the reverse of the coin.
The new obverse depicted a modern, close-up portrait of US President Jefferson's face, designed by Joe Fitzgerald. The words "IN GOD WE TRUST" is displayed along the upper rim and the stylized word "Liberty" is displayed just above the mint mark and date. The word "Liberty" is actually in the same handwriting used by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote a draft of the Declaration of Independence. Don Everhart was responsible for modeling and engraving the obverse of the coin for striking, two different reverse designs were used that year. Starting in 2006, a new obverse design of Jefferson was produced and the reverse of the coin was restored to the original Monticello design.
These are just some of the more popular and well known coins that Don helped design and sculpt. This list is very likely to grow as time goes on. In fact, Don Everhart has designed and modeled over 1,000 coins and medals so far. He is also still in the prime of his career and will likely be around at the US Mint for many more years to come. He had produced countless Presidential and Congressional Gold Medals. Some of his most famous medals included a portrait of William (Bill) Clinton used for the Inaugural Medal honoring his second term as US President, and the George W. Bush 2nd term Inaugural Medal. Everhart not only produced medals for government officials, but also calendar medals, private medals and medals for the Society of Medalists. One of these private medals included the 1991 Hermit Crab Medal for the Brookgreen Gardens Membership Medal Series, their first freestanding, non-circular medal.
In addition to medals and official US coinage, Everhart also designed or modeled popular commemorative coins. Some of these include the obverse of the 2006 Benjamin Franklin Founding Father silver dollar, the reverse of the 2007 Central High School Desegregation silver dollar, obverse of the Jamestown 400th Anniversary silver dollar, obverse of the 2008 Bald Eagle Silver Dollar and reverse of the 2008 $5 Gold Bald Eagle. One of Don Everhart's favorite designing and sculpting themes is nature. In many of his medals, he enjoyed depicting natural themes and animals. Back in the 1990s during his freelance career, he produced medals depicting animals and natural wonders. Even in US coins, the eagles and objects of nature were modeled in amazing quality and detail.
Throughout his career, Everhart received many awards and recognitions for his art. Some of these include the 1985 National Sculpture Society First Prize for their Reliefs and Medals Show. 1994 American Numismatic Association Sculptor of the Year, 1996 American Medallic Sculptor and Franklin Mint's Best of Show. These are just a few of his awards. Don also served as president of the American Medallic Sculpture Association from 1993-94 and is a member of the National Sculpture Society. His many works of art are exhibited and recognized internationally. Some of his works are included in collections at the American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic Society, Smithsonian Institute, National Sculpture Society and British Museum, among others. Don Everhart is perhaps one of the most legendary and successful designers, sculptors and engravers of the US Mint, considering the sheer number of unique, high quality designs and works depicted on US coinage and throughout his career. Billions of modern US coins bear his designs and/or engravings.