Introducing I Brow

By Marc Banks RM538, Ralph Winter HLM37, Don Wolfe RM981

I acquired hobo nickel #1 on eBay in May. It depicted a man with a wild, curly beard wearing a domed hat with a long pointed brim and a hat band decorated with vertical cut lines. The carving also had a prominent eyebrow. The crown of the hat and the collar were covered with fine stippling. I had seen matches to this carving previously, but was never lucky enough to win one. The first of these matches (#2) was sold on eBay in February of 2013. A short time later Ralph Winter won a third example (#3) from another eBay auction. Don Wolfe contacted me with a fourth example (#4) that he owned. The three of us discussed several names and decided to nickname the carver of these nickels "I Brow" after that distinctive feature on all four specimens. Although the workmanship is somewhat modest, these carvings have an interesting look.

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The carving characteristics for "I Brow" are as follows:

  1. Nicely carved domed hat with a narrow, pointed brim, stippled crown, & a band decorated with vertical cut lines.
  2. The hair, moustache and curl beard are punched using a fine, moderately sized punch.
  3. Cut lines form a prominent eyebrow.
  4. The eye and profile are unaltered.
  5. There is no discernible ear.
  6. The collar outlined with a V- shaped notch towards the front and is stippled in the same manner as the hat.
  7. The fields are cleanly dressed with peening on three examples, LIBERTY is left intact.
  8. The four carvings are done on 1913 nickels.