Introducing Beady Eye


By Stephen Alpert LM10 and Art DelFavero RM552

Here is yet another distinctive early hobo nickel artist. But he is not quite as good as most of the above artists. I am nicknaming him "Beady Eye" as his portraits have an altered eye with a small eyeball. In addition to the two specimens illustrated here, another "Beady Eye" can be seen on page 90 of the Guidebook (lot 42 of OHNS Auction 6).

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The diagnostic characteristics of a hobo nickel by “Beady Eye” are:

  1. A hat created by 5 long grooves: two forming the brim (points to “E” of LIBERTY), two forming the top of the plain hat band, and one around the dome on top. Some of the Indian's hair may be discernible on the dome.
  2. A fairly nice tilted carved ear of above average size, with an outer groove.
  3. Punched hair-beard-mustache and eyebrow; circular punches behind the ear, curved arcs elsewhere (possibly from the same beading tool, held at an angle for the arcs). The hair runs down the braid on the neck.
  4. Altered eye with small eyeball punch.
  5. Altered nose (notch at top, and punch-enlarged nostril).
  6. Simple grooved collar, with the four grooves resembling a very wide letter W.
  7. Occurs on 1913-dated buffalo nickels. (Just these two known so far.)

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Additional “Beady Eye” Carvings

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1998 OHNS Auction 6 Lot42