Introducing TriEye


By Art DelFavero RM552, Ralph Winter LM37

This article nicknames “TriEye” as the unknown old hobo artist who carved these three hobo nickels illustrated here.

We choose “TriEye” because of the rather distinctive triangular outline of the eye. The first example above is carved on a 1913 Buffalo nickel. The first was won by Ralph Winter in an eBay auction in February, 2006. It is currently owned by Art DelFavero. The second coin was also won by Ralph Winter in an eBay auction in January of 2006. The third example was also purchased on eBay in February 2003 by an unknown buyer. (Unfortunately, we do not have a better photograph.)

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The diagnostic features of “TriEye” include:

  1. All executed on early dated nice quality nickels;
  2. Dotted eye surrounded by a triangle shape;
  3. Punched hair and beard by way of C shaped punch;
  4. Bangs that extend to the end of the forehead;
  5. Nice defined engraved ear;
  6. Rounded derby style hat which includes rim, band, bow and circle punched pattern on body;
  7. Simple but nice engraved collar;
  8. Use of various gravers including point, flat, and liner;
  9. Well dressed neck and field and
  10. Scraggily ended beard.

This artist seems to have been a person that had hand engraving skills, and had access to many tools that are used by a jeweler or engraver.