Introducing Diamond Jim
By Marc Banks RM538 and Warren Stabler RM848
Among several original hobo nickels I purchased at the ANA show in Boston this past year was a carving of a bearded man wearing a derby with a stick pin by an unknown carver. Lines emanating from the stick pin suggest a diamond. Having seen this attribute before, I began looking through old auction lots and guide books for similar carvings possibly done by the same individual. I was lucky and found a match on page 34 of Steve Alpert's Guide Book. This same nickel was Lot #76 in the 2001 OHNS Auction. Pictures of the two nickels appeared in the “Three is a match” column in the 2011 Volume of BoTales. Art DelFavero located another example in the OHNS Archives. This third specimen is in the collection of Warren Stabler. I am naming this carver “Diamond Jim” after the distinctive stick pin.
In addition to the distinctive stick pin, carvings by “Diamond Jim” possess the following Carving Characteristics:
- An altered profile, eye and nostril.
- An ear that extends up into the brim of the hat, the ear has a thick outer edge.
- A domed hat with a brim that is upturned on the side and rounded (three dimensional) front and back.
- A narrow hat band formed by two lines − two examples also possess a small rectangle and a feathered edge.
- The beard and eyebrow are punched � different sized punches and/or a multi-pointed graver/liner tool were employed.
- The beard ends in a point in front of the chin.
- The collars have a triangular fold.
- Accent lines are found to varying degrees on the hat, collar, lapel, jacket and the field behind the head on the three examples. The Stabler coin also has cross-checking on the jacket. The specimen from the Boston show also displays a button hole on the lapel.