Introducing Brimless

By Marc Banks, RM-538 and Art Del Favero, RM-552

Every so often a hobo carving comes along with a brimless hat. This type of hat which is far less common on hobo nickels is known as a Kufi or Kufi Cap and are worn by men in some parts of Africa and Asia. I won one such carving on eBay (#1). I knew a match to this carving was shown on page 35 of Steve Alpert's Hobo Nickel Guide Book (#2). Not long after my purchase another carving with a Kufi Cap by this unknown classic carver was listed on eBay. This coin was won by my friend and OHNS archivist Arturo Del Favero. As on the other two carvings, a punch was used to create wavy hair and beards. Also, two punch marks were used for the detail of the ear and to flair the nostril open. This example also had a collar flap and a small jeweled stick pin at the front of the collar. We are calling this carver "Brimless."

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The carving characteristics for "Brimless" are listed as follows:

  1. A brimless hat known as a Kufi or Kufi Cap.
  2. Wavy hair and beard (punched).
  3. An ear with the central detail created with two punch marks.
  4. Altered profile, created by removing a wedge of metal at the bridge of the nose. The nostrils are also flared open.
  5. Minor modification to the eye.
  6. Plain shirt collars of Examples 1 and 2. A more elaborate collar and a stone stick pin on Example 3.
  7. The field behind the head is nicely dressed (peened). LIBERTY is left intact.
  8. All three carvings are done on 1913 host coins.