Introducing Trouble Clef
By Adam Leech LM65, Chris Dempsey LM64
The first example of this carver, on a 1913 Type 1 nickel, appeared on eBay in December of 2012 and was purchased via Buy It Now by Adam Leech for $300. At the January FUN show, Adam approached a dealer who was also collecting hobo nickels, and he had the subsequent two examples. The second example shown is on a 1913, type 2 nickel. I (Chris Dempsey) was lucky enough to acquire the third example for my date and mint mark set, which is carved on a 1913-D Type 2 nickel.
Adam went through several name choices, but he ultimately chose the name "Trouble Clef." When I asked how Adam arrived at that name, he said "Well the ear really resembles a Treble Clef, and boy, he just looks like trouble."
The carving characteristics for "Trouble Clef" are as follows:
- Plain Derby with no hatband and a curved brim.
- Backwards "S" that resembles a musical treble clef.
- Beard and eyebrow carved with short cuts from a line graver.
- Two beard points extend below the chin.
- Bare neck with no collar.
- The profile is unaltered.
- Field over the derby and behind the head and neck is stippled.
- At the time for this write-up, carvings by "Trouble Clef" appear on early date nickels.