Introducing Bo Tie

By Marc Banks, RM 538

Several years ago I purchased a group of hobo nickels that included carving #1 which depicted the traditional bearded hobo with a domed hat with a long crescent shaped brim. What stood out most on this carving was the bow tie. Earlier this year (2016) I purchased two carvings from a dealer at a local show. One (#2) depicted a cigar smoking hobo wearing a bow tie. I suspected it was a match to the one I owned and when I compared the two they were clearly carved by the same carver. Two months later at the same show, a friend told me he wanted me to take a look at a carving (#3) he had in his collection. I was very surprised when he handed me the carving and it had the very similar bow tie. It also shared a number of the same characteristics and carving techniques. I told him it was a classic carving by an unknown artist, but that I believed it was a match to the two I owned. He asked me what I thought the value was and he surprised me again when he said I could have it for that price. I hadn't thought it was something he wanted to sell. Although this carving was clearly not carved by George Washington "Bo" Hughes, I have nicknamed this unknown carver "Bo Tie" after the feature that helped match these three carvings.

Click to view enlargment. Click to view enlargment. Click to view enlargment.

The carving characteristics for "Bo Tie" are as follows:

  1. Hat crown with checkered accents, wide band with varying degrees of accents, long crescent shaped hat brim.
  2. Wriggle cut hair, moustache beard and eyebrow.
  3. An engraved ear.
  4. Tall accented V-neck collar above an accented jacket.
  5. Bow tie with center knot and accent lines.
  6. Unaltered profile.
  7. Cleaned fields with LIBERTY partially intact.
  8. The date has been removed.