Introducing Chief Nine Feathers


By Kira Del Favero RM1681, Marc Banks RM538, Art Del Favero HLM552

Within the last couple of years, I (Art) was faced with the tough decision of whether to keep collecting both "Modern" and or "Classic Era" hobo nickels. In the end I decided to go with exclusively the latter, based on funding and financing my personal favorite era. Of course, "Classic Era" did not exclude the types of host coins used. Liberty, Buffalo, and Jefferson nickels were fair game as was the occasional rare Cent type.

A coin had captured my eye that was featured on eBay for a number of months and even possibly for over a year. This was a special one being that it was sculpted on an Indian head cent. Though overpriced, I decided to use some of the monies obtained from selling off moderns to splurge for it.

A couple of months earlier Marc Banks, our society’s VP, Auction manager, QD examiner, and Photographer, had shown me a coin that was an obvious match to the one on eBay. This was another bonus to be included to my decision to purchase. Sometime later I found a third, a match to Marc’s find and also to my online pick-up. We now had three coins that matched and nicknaming the unknown carver was in short order. This becomes only the second carver to be nicknamed based on his works using pennies or cents as a host coin.

I had been teaching my daughter and new member Kira on the accumulated nuances of hobo nickels and the modified Indian head cent had just happened to be one of the coins we focused on. We both looked over the coin trying to figure out a nickname when she blurted out "Chief Nine Feathers" and that was that as they say.

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The diagnostic characteristics for identifying hobo nickels made by "Chief Nine Feathers" are:

  1. Use of highly conditioned VF to XF Indian head cents as host coins.
  2. Satirical ethnic stereotypical faces.
  3. Engraved head and facial hair all with Amish style beards.
  4. Modified eyes on all.
  5. Modified upturned noses on all.
  6. Long smiling mouths similar to those of monkeys.
  7. Expression cutline behind mouths.
  8. Facial expression is similar to that often seen on leprechauns.
  9. Neck/collar line cut in on two.
  10. No disturbance to fields.
  11. Probably carved in the 1880’s or 1890’s based on dates and high grade of the cents.