By Stephen Alpert LM102
The three classic old hobo nickels pictured below depict a very well-dressed man, someone who looks regal or was in high society. The large hats and collars are very ornate. I am nicknaming this unknown artist "Prince" based on his portrayal of princely figures. The first example I own and is pictured in the OHNS Guidebook on page 21. Chris Dempsey owns the second specimen, on a 1927 nickel, and Ralph Winter owns the third specimen, also on a 1927 nickel.
The carving characteristics for "Prince" are as follows:
- A large, tall derby hat, with a stippled or grained texture on the dome.
- A wide hatband, with a large ornate bow in the center.
- A thinner hat brim, curved a bit downwards at the ends, and not projecting far beyond the band.
- The ear is in the center of the coin and is C-shaped or almost so, with some internal detail.
- The hair-beard-mustache was formed using a circular punch. The beard extends a bit past the chin onto the field.
- The profile has an altered nose and nostril.
- The eye is altered on two of the specimens, with a small punch for the eyeball and some vertical cuts above to form a faint eyebrow.
- The shirt collar is tall and open in the front, with two triangular flaps.
- A circular button or round piece of jewelry is at the base of the open shirt collar on two of the coins.
- The coat collar below varies from ornate to simple; the collars may be lightly peened.
- The field is not that well dressed, with stippling on two of the specimens.
- Found so far on mid-dated buffalo nickels (the 2 dated pieces are 1927).