Introducing Portly

By Marc Banks RM538, Arturo DelFavero RM552

While walking across the bourse floor at the 2018 FUN Show I spotted a dealer who I remembered had hobo nickels in the past. I made a U-turn and asked him if he had brought any with him. He had two, one modern and one classic. The latter carving (1) was of a man with a stubble beard wearing a domed hat with a long brim. The wide jacket lapel continues up behind his head giving this character the look of a large, broad shouldered man. Although similar in appearance to previously nicknamed carver "Willie Wide Neck", this carving was the work of another unknown artist. I liked the overall look and purchased the carving. Several months later will browsing through the archived section of the OHNS web site, I stumbled across a second carving (2) by this same unknown carver. I sent photos of the two carvings to my friend and OHNS Archivist Art DelFavero and he found a third match (3) while searching through the archived QDs. I have nicknamed this carver "Portly" based on his stout appearance.

Click to view enlargment. Click to view enlargment. Click to view enlargment.

The carving characteristics for "Portly" are as follows:

  1. A tall shirt collar, folded in the front and a long, wide lapel that enhance the thickness of the neck and give the appearance of a broad shoulder. There may or may not be a button hole on the lapel.
  2. The crown of the hat is accented with horizontal lines. There is a hat band with or without a bow and long straight or crescent shaped brim, slightly down turned at the front on Examples 1 and 2. The front brim points at or through the E in LIBERTY. The hat sits low on the forehead.
  3. Some carving of the hair behind the ear, the moustache and beard are punched. The beard is cropped close to the chin. A diamond shaped punch is used on Examples 1 and 3. From the available photo, Example 2 appears to be done with a rounded punch.
  4. Engraved ears with a broad outline and inner detail.
  5. No apparent alteration to the eyes or profiles. There is a hint of an eyebrow on Example 1.
  6. Fields well-dressed with LIBERTY left intact.
  7. Date is removed on all 3 examples.