Introducing The Professor

By Stephen Alpert LM10

The first specimen (on left) I obtained way back in February of 1987. It was one of a group of eleven hobo nickels I purchased from exonumia dealers Rossa and Tanenbaum at a Long Beach coin show. I bought all eleven for $225. The second example (middle) appeared on eBay in May, 2013, and was won by Chris Dempsey for $517.77. The third specimen was located by Art DelFavero as being Lot 23 in OHNS Auction 20, won by Candace Kagin for $341.

I decided to nickname the carver of these three hobo nickels "The Professor" because the carvings resemble a contemporary early 20th century college professor. The third specimen is not as well carved as the other two, so it is probably an early work by "The Professor."

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

The carving characteristics for "The Professor" are listed as follows:

  1. A derby hat, with a bow on the band; some of the Indian's hair is visible on the dome.
  2. The hat brim is narrow and bends down a bit at the wraparound pointy ends.
  3. The hat band has a bow with accent lines; the top of the bow extends above the band.
  4. A nicely-carved ear, with a distinct lobe at the bottom.
  5. A single round punch mark for the eye on the first two coins.
  6. Punched hair, with some hair above and to the right of the ear.
  7. Profile unaltered except for a notch at the top of the nose.
  8. Punched beard; beard extends out past the chin.
  9. A triangular to pentagonal dressed neck area above the collar.
  10. Simple collar with accent lines at ends.
  11. Field behind head decently dressed.
  12. All three carved on 1913 nickels, with LIBERTY remaining.