By Marc Banks, RM-538
In 2014 I purchased a group of hobo nickels which included a well-carved nickel (#1 above) by an unknown carver. Although this classic carving bared a resemblance to already nicknamed carver "Tufty", the engraved, wavy hair, G-shaped ear and unaltered profile were different and suggested it was the work of another individual. Carvings by Tufty have a similar hat and tuft of hair on the forehead, but the ear is invariably a broadly outlined oval shape and also have a notch removed from the bridge of the nose creating an angular nose not unlike those on the works of Bert Wiegand. I hadn't seen anything similar to the nickel in my collection until this year (2019) when two matches appeared on eBay within weeks of each other (#s 2 & 3). The third example above was won by OHNS archivist Arturo DelFavero. I have nicknamed this carver G-Man after the distinctive ear on each of these works.
The carving characteristics for "G-Man" are listed as follows:
- An O-shaped ear with inner detail resembling the letter G. The ear is near or partially obscured by the hat brim.
- A domed hat with a plain hat band and a thin, crescent-shaped brim.
- Engraved hair that extends across the forehead.
- A trimmed beard and moustache.
- Unaltered eye (eye brows on Examples 1 and 2).
- Profile unmodified. May exhibit slight alteration to nostril. Modification to mouth.
- Either no collar or a wedge-shaped collar.
- Well-dressed fields with LIBERTY intact or removed.
- The three carvings to date are on 1913 and 1923 nickels.