Introducing G-Man


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.

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The carving characteristics for "G-Man" are listed as follows:

  1. An O-shaped ear with inner detail resembling the letter G. The ear is near or partially obscured by the hat brim.
  2. A domed hat with a plain hat band and a thin, crescent-shaped brim.
  3. Engraved hair that extends across the forehead.
  4. A trimmed beard and moustache.
  5. Unaltered eye (eye brows on Examples 1 and 2).
  6. Profile unmodified. May exhibit slight alteration to nostril. Modification to mouth.
  7. Either no collar or a wedge-shaped collar.
  8. Well-dressed fields with LIBERTY intact or removed.
  9. The three carvings to date are on 1913 and 1923 nickels.