Introducing Cornucopia

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."

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

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

  1. Nice derby hats with bands (two showing Ribbons and air holes), and straight brims.
  2. Very textured beards that start wide at the top and always finish to a fine point.
  3. Beautifully detailed ears that display a tragus and concha, which is rare.
  4. Notched noses which extend down to amendments to the profile.
  5. Enlarged nostril.
  6. Extremely rounded back of heads on examples 1, 2, and 3.
  7. All are executed on early dated host coins 1913-1915.
  8. LIBERTY left intact, and dates mostly visible.
  9. Nice collar and shoulder work, with a shadow of a neck tie knot showing.
  10. All work is sculpted with a combination of engraving, punching, burnishing, peening, with mill graining on one hat brim.
  11. Field work is conducted in impeccable fashion.