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