Introducing Schnozz

By Art DelFavero RM552, Candace Kagin LM777 and Ralph Winter LM37

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This article nicknames “Schnozz” as the unknown old hobo artist who carved these five hobo nickels illustrated above. We choose “Schnozz” because of the rather distinctive and enlarged noses.

The first two examples above are carved on 1913-S Buffalo nickels. The first was won by an unknown bidder in an eBay auction early in 2001.

The second coin was purchased by Ralph Winter in 2003 from the late Norm Talbert (OHNS member and avid hobo nickel collector) at the Michigan State Numismatic Society (MSNS) Fall Coin Show. While purchasing this nickel from Norm, Ralph met Art DelFavero, who is now a good friend as well as hobo nickel collector and carver... Cinco de Arturo.

The third example, on a 1915-S nickel, was purchased by Candace Kagin at the 2006 OHNS FUN Auction. It came from the hobo nickel collection of Robert Van Bebber of Glendale, California. Unfortunately, Robert could not remember when and where he obtained the nickel.

The fourth coin, carved on a 1917-S nickel, belongs to Gail Baker and is currently on display in the ANA traveling exhibit, “The History and Romance of Hobo Nickels.” Gail also does not remember when and where she obtained her example.

The fifth example belongs to Art DelFavero. This carving is on a 1927-S nickel and came from a charm bracelet. The charm bracelet's origin was Texas. Art purchased the nickel in 2001.

The diagnostic features of “Schnozz” include a large flattened nose with a graved outline. Other diagnostic features are an ear that overrides the hat brim, the hair, eye brow, beard, and moustache are finely stipple punched, altered lips and profile, use of wrinkles on forehead and behind eyes, a peened texture on hat and in the field, well formed collars displaying an upside down V cut, and a nicely rounded derby hat, placed high on the forehead, and low at the rear of the head.

Thus far “Schnozz” nickels maintain the word liberty and their dates. All five examples are on San Francisco minted coins. Dates of these specimens range from 1913 to 1927.

There appears to be a progression of style changes from the earlier to the later dated examples.

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Two more “Schnozz” nickels have been spotlighted bringing the total documented to seven. A nice 1914 was sold as Lot#82 in the 2005 O.H.N.S. auction and a second 1917 two sided holed specimen resides in the private collection of Steve Alpert. Both nickels keep with the program of being carved on San Francisco minted host coins. ~ Art DelFavero