By Marc Banks RM538 and Art DelFavero RM552
Among the carved nickels I brought with me to this past January's Fun Show is one I call “Droopy” after the hobo's lazy eyelid. I had purchased the classic carving at a coin show the previous fall for $150. When I showed the nickel to OHNS QD Examiner Art DelFavero, he said he thought there was a match by the same artist. In no time at all, Art appeared with the 2009 Volume 18 Issue 1 of BoTales. Among the pictures of Hobo Nickels recently purchased on eBay for $124 on page 21 was a carving that clearly had been carved by the same person (2nd specimen below). With hope that a third example might appear, I returned home to Connecticut. Later in January, I received an email from Art with a picture of a third example from the collection of Warren Stabler.
In addition to the modified eye, the three nickels shared a number of characteristics that show that they are the work of the same previously unnamed artist.
The Carving Characteristics for “Droopy” are listed as follows:
- Punched eyelid.
- Domed hats whose outlines meets the brim which curves back behind the hat creating a three dimensional effect.
- Horizontal accent lines across portions of the hats.
- A hat band with vertical accents lines.
- The left fields of these carvings have been nicely dressed. Different portions of the word “LIBERTY” remain in the right field on each specimen.
- Punched hair, moustaches and beards and eyebrows.
- Altered profiles with enlarge nostrils.
- A slightly open mouth.
- Ears created with a small punch.
- The collars vary from elaborate to a simple double incised line.
- The first example brought to the Fun Show has a bow tie added.