Introducing Road Scholar

By Marc Banks RM538

In 2010, I won a well carved hobo nickel in an eBay auction (left most coin at bottom of page). It depicted a man with a neatly trimmed beard and moustache wearing a derby, a high collared shirt and stippled jacket with a button hole on the lapel. I recognized it as a match to a carving (middle) I had seen in Joyce Ann Romines' The Hobo Nickel (page 85) and in OHNS Hobo Nickel Guide Book by Stephen Alpert (pages 14 and 83). After four years, I acquired the third match (third coin on top of next page) in another eBay auction. This most recent example had been gold plated and the hair, moustache and beard had been carved with much bolder cuts, but the carving shared all the major attributes of the other two. I have named the carver of these hobo nickels "Road Scholar" as his creations portray a dignified character, neatly groomed and well dressed. Art DelFavero found the fourth specimen (right most coin below) in the OHNS Quality Designation archives.

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

The carving characteristics for "Road Scholar" are as follows:

  1. 1. A derby with a shallow to medium sized crown, a short brim and a narrow, decorated band. The hat sits high on the head and the brim is nearly horizontal.
  2. Well carved hair, a neatly trimmed moustache and beard (also carved). The moustache does not connect to the beard and the beard extends slightly beyond the chin.
  3. A narrow, nicely carved ear with inner detail.
  4. The eyes on all three examples are accented with carved eyebrows and crow's feet.
  5. Defined shirt and jacket collars (with lapel). The latter is decorated with neat stippling. Two examples have a button hole on the lapel. The edge of the hidden side of the collars is present on all three carvings.
  6. The eye and profile are not altered.
  7. The fields are cleanly dressed with LIBERTY removed. The date has also been removed on all examples.
  8. The workmanship on these three carvings is above average or higher in quality.