By Marc Banks RM538
The work of this new nicknamed caver should look very familiar. Example 1 below of a man with a full-beard sporting a domed hat with a turned up three-dimensional brim and a large bow, and a cigarette dangling from his mouth is one of six carvings on the cover of Delma Romines’s 1982 book Hobo Nickels: Prisoner Nickels, Shop Tokens, Modern Engravings. This carving also appears on page 45 of the book. It was one of a number of book plate carvings from the Don Haley Collection that were offered in the 2019 Heritage Auction in Orlando, Florida. Example 2 is found on page 26 of Steve Alpert’s Hobo Nickel Guide Book. Example 3 was purchased at a coin show in Massachusetts. I am nicknaming this unknown carver “Papillon” after the large butterfly-shaped bow that appears on the hat of each of the carvings.
The Carving Characteristics for "Papillon" are listed as follows:
- A large bow resembling a butterfly located on the hat band behind the ear. Some vertical lines decorate the band.
- The hat has a low crown and a turned up, three-dimensional brim.
- The hair, moustache, beard and eyebrow were created with deep punch marks and darkened to add contrast.
- A C-shaped ear (with a punched center on two examples) sits across the bottom edge of the hat brim.
- Slight to no modification to profile and eye.
- A tall shirt collar with a triangular fold at the front. A button is visible on the fold.
- A jacket lapel across the shoulder. A button hole is visible on two examples.
- A cigarette with ash at the end hangs slightly downward from the mouth.
- The fields are recessed and cleanly dressed with LIBERTY removed. The fields are stippled on Example 1.
- No dates are visible. Examples 1 and 3 are on Type 2 “D” mint nickels. Only an obverse picture of Example 2 was available