Introducing Long Coat

By Steve 'Big One' Alpert LM10

Hobo nickels by "Long Coat" are reverse-only carvings, altering the buffalo to a man carrying a sack on his back by his left arm held up to his neck. The buffalo's head is changed to a bearded man, wearing a derby and a long coat extending down below the knees. Pant legs and shoes show below the coat.

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My two specimens are illustrated above on the left. One is a raised ground 1913 (Type I) nickel and the other is on a flat ground (Type II) 1913 (both P Mint and XF). The Type II coin is also illustrated in our Guidebook (page 9, lower right). Both coins were part of a large hobo nickel collection (135 old coins) that I purchased in 1988 from exonumia dealers Rossa and Tannenbaum for $2,500.00 (less than $20 each which was the going rate back then!). The third specimen was in our 2012 OHNS Auction 20, lot 82, which just sold for $550.

At first glance, the man resembles the reverse carvings of "Sharp Ear" (named in the Spring 2010 BoTales and illustrated below). But these similarities are superficial and not unexpected due to the nature of the alteration. But there are consistent differences between the three "Long Coat" carvings and the four reverses of the two-sided "Sharp Ear" carvings: 1) The coat extends farther down the legs on "Long Coat." 2) The legs overlap (they are apart and parallel on "Sharp Ear"). 3) The shoes are larger on "Long Coat." 4) The ear is oval and more distinct on "Long Coat." Thus, I am convinced they are by different carvers.

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The Carving Characteristics for "Long Coat" are listed as follows:

  1. 1) The bison is altered to a standing man carrying a sack on his back.
  2. The obverse is unaltered.
  3. The head of the buffalo is altered to a bearded man wearing a derby.
  4. The man's ear is oval.
  5. The man is wearing a long coat (longer than the coat of a "Sharp Ear").
  6. The coat flares out a bit at the bottom.
  7. The coat may have horizontal grooves, hinting at a pocket and buttons.
  8. The two legs slightly overlap.
  9. The shoes are large and distinct.
  10. All known specimens are on 1913 nickels.