Introducing Stiff Lip

By Chris Dempsey LM64

In November of 2011, I acquired a twenty-coin cache of classic carvings from an old time collector. Among those coins was the first coin pictured here. A few months later, I saw the same collector and asked if he had any other coins for sale from his collection. I bought four or five coins, but the one that stood out the most to me was the second coin pictured here, a beautiful partial cameo carving by the same carver which I was thrilled to purchase.

Nearly eight months passed by with no matches, until late one night while looking for hobo nickel articles via search engine, I came across an online blog offered by David Lawrence Rare Coins. It was in this article that I discovered the third and final match.

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The carving characteristics for "Stiff Lip" are as follows:

  1. Date and liberty may be either removed or left intact.
  2. Derby and jacket are densely punched with a fine tipped tool.
  3. A simple, stylized mouth, comprised of two angular thin cuts, gives the lips depth and dimension.
  4. Circle punch used to create bearding.
  5. Hair detail is likely knife cut.
  6. Straight brim with parallel ribbon lines.
  7. Hat bow comprised of a center square adorned with two outward facing, open faced "V's" turned on their side.
  8. Half "C" shaped ear with minimal internal stylization.
  9. Round punched eye.
  10. Slightly altered profile and nostril.
  11. This carver uses optional eyebrows, wrinkles, and other small variances in his carvings.
  12. Carvings, when dated, are carved on early date nickels.