Introducing High Roller

By Fred Avan RM908 and Chris Dempsey LM64

At the 2012 Michigan State Numismatic Show Chris Dempsey purchased a traditional hobo nickel (top left) with very distinctive accent lines across the hat and jacket. Equally unique were the large ear and jagged beard. A match was quickly found in the OHNS Auction 12 Catalog, Lot #84 (2nd coin pictured). This coin had a hammer price of $200. A third example dated 1928, was sold for $203 on eBay in 2009 (3rd coin pictured). Still another match found its way into the 2013 OHNS Auction, Lot #80 (bottom right) and was won by Fred Avan for a hammer price of $225. We have named the artist of these carvings "High Roller" as the detail on his apparel suggests that he was well-dressed.

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The carving characteristics for "High Roller" are listed as follows:

  1. Domed hat with wide band, large bow and narrow, downward turned brim.
  2. Carved hat, coat and collar are decorated with accent lines.
  3. There is a button hole in the jacket lapel.
  4. The profile is unaltered.
  5. A large ear with a wide outline sits far back on the head and is partially hidden by the hat.
  6. Punched hair, moustache and beard.
  7. Well-dressed fields.
  8. Date and LIBERTY are left intact.
  9. Dates range from 1919-1934.