Introducing Smokin' Joe


By Fred Avan RM908

The First example pictured below by the carver I have nicknamed “Smokin' Joe” was won in an eBay auction in March of 2008 for $270. This same example is also shown on page 17 of BoTales Volume 17, Issue #2, Summer 2008. The second example was purchased by Art DelFavero for $150 on the F.U.N. Show bourse floor in 2010. Someone had gold plated Art's specimen at some point in time. I picked up the third example from eBay in May of 2010 for $181. The fourth example pictured below was Lot 34 in OHNS Auction #5 in January of 1997 and sold for $93.50 including the 10% buyer's fee.

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The Carving Characteristics for "Smokin′ Joe" are listed as follows:

  1. All carvings on 1913 nickels.
  2. Textured punches for beard, hair and mustache.
  3. Crescent shaped ear with outer groove on back side.
  4. Some might have the top of the nostril altered and notch at the top of the nose.
  5. Derby tilted back on head with front of hat bill touching the “L” in LIBERTY. Hair forms the top of the hat (Indian's hair left forming uneven top to derby).
  6. Hat band with bow and has vertical lines.
  7. Hat brim tapered to a point both front and back using two carved lines.
  8. Smoothed field with LIBERTY and date remaining.
  9. Majority of carvings depict subject smoking a cigarette.

Click to view enlargment.

The fifth example, shown here on the right, sold on eBay in October of 2011 for $383. While this carving matches the fourth example shown above... it does call into question as to whether either was carved by the same artist that carved the first three carvings shown above.