By Marc Banks RM538 and Joseph "Spit" Scalamoni LM1578
Last year (2020) I won a hobo nickel (1) on eBay that was a great example of a carving done extensively with the use of a liner tool to create fine lines and wriggle cut patterns. I began searching through the OHNS website, back issues of BoTales and the internet for carvings that may have been the work of the same talented carver to no avail. While browsing through eBay in January, I noticed (and ultimately won) a nice classic carving (2) of a bearded man wearing a domed hat done in the same fashion. When I compared the two, there was no question they were done by the same talented artist. OHNS archivist Arturo DelFavero checked through the archives for me, but had no luck finding one. Then I sent photos of some of my more recent purchases as I do from time to time to fellow collector Joe Scalamoni to check out. Joe quickly recognized a coin in his collection (3) nearly identical to carvings 1 and 2. I figured there must be a third example somewhere, but had no idea it would appear so quickly. After completing the requirements for nicknaming a carver, I remembered hobo nickel (4) I had put in the OHNS Auction some years back and sure enough it is the fourth match. This example has texturing in the field behind the head and modification to the nose. We are nicknaming this artist "The Line Man" after his extensive liner tool work.
The carving characteristics for "The Line Man" are listed as follows:
1) Crown and brim of a domed hat shaded with fine lines created with a liner tool. Also on the brim of Example 2.
2) Traces of the host coin's feathers are visible above and below the rear brim except Example 4 which has texturing in the field behind the head.
3) The hat brim extends to left of L in LIBERTY and curves downward at the rear.
4) Liner tool is also used in different directions (wriggle cut) creating textured hair, moustache and beard. The beard comes to a point.
5) An eyebrow added with a liner tool.
6) An outlined collar, decorated with fine lines, slopes down ward towards the front of the neck.
7) Fine lines going in different directions accent the shoulder.
8) A small oval ear with little or no interior detail sits back on the head below the hat brim.
9) The eye is slightly altered on all examples.
10) The profile is unaltered or may have the bridge of the nose (1 & 4) modified, the lips are enhanced.
11) Remnants of the Indian's braid are visible between the beard and the collar on all examples.
12) A small cut line below the chin extends to the collar on Examples 1 and 2 narrowing the width of the neck.
13) LIBERTY is left intact, the dates are removed.