By Arturo DelFavero RM552
Recently I was offered a bundle of seven classic era hobo nickels. It was a deal that I couldn’t pass up. All were very nice, but one stood out due to the beautiful workmanship, and also a familiar attachment (example 1). I had saved an image of the one sold in the January 2019 Heritage Auction on my desktop. It was a match (example 2) to my new purchase. Soon after I was able to locate a third match via the O.H.N.S. Q.D. archives (example 3). This specimen closely resembled example 1, and in my opinion, are demonstrations of earlier works. Within a couple of days former Q.D. examiner and past President Steve Alpert supplied a fourth that closely mirrored the aforementioned example 2.
What really struck me about this coin was the incredible artistry. One feature that stood out was a beard that resembled a "horn of plenty" also called a "cornucopia'. A "cornucopia" is always shown as a textured or wicker funnel packed with shear healthy goodness, sort of like this jam-packed hobo nickel. With this said, I've decided to nickname this artist "Cornucopia."
The carving characteristics for "Cornucopia" are listed as follows:
- Nice derby hats with bands (two showing Ribbons and air holes), and straight brims.
- Very textured beards that start wide at the top and always finish to a fine point.
- Beautifully detailed ears that display a tragus and concha, which is rare.
- Notched noses which extend down to amendments to the profile.
- Enlarged nostril.
- Extremely rounded back of heads on examples 1, 2, and 3.
- All are executed on early dated host coins 1913-1915.
- LIBERTY left intact, and dates mostly visible.
- Nice collar and shoulder work, with a shadow of a neck tie knot showing.
- All work is sculpted with a combination of engraving, punching, burnishing, peening, with mill graining on one hat brim.
- Field work is conducted in impeccable fashion.