Introducing Twofer


By Ralph Winter LM37, Arturo DelFavero RM552

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Late in December of 2008 I was very fortunate to win a beautiful two-sided 1913 dated hobo nickel in an eBay auction. When I traveled to this year's F.U.N. Show, I took this nickel along to show to some of my OHNS friends. On Friday of the F.U.N. Show I was sitting at the OHNS table when the second example shown below was handed to me, and the other OHNS board members seated at the bourse table, to inspect. I was shocked to see that this particular, also two-sided, nickel appeared to be executed by the same carver as my hobo nickel. Steve Alpert examined both nickels and concurred. Additionally, the individual, who presented the nickel to OHNS for inspection, decided to consign it to the 2010 OHNS F.U.N. Show auction.

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When I got home from this year's F.U.N. show, I found a third example of a work by this carver, we have nicknamed “Twofer.” It's found on page 83 of The Hobo Nickel by Joyce Ann Romines. This same nickel was also Lot 19 in OHNS Auction 2. Authenticator Gail (Kraljevich) Baker believed, as I do, that both sides of the nickel are by the same carver. I have A fourth example appears on page 97 of Tokens and Medals by Stephen P. Alpert and Lawrence E. Elman. A scan of this 1991 example is shown below. Unfortunately, a better photo is not available.

All the hobo nickels by the artist “Twofer” are double sided renderings. They are carved and punched using gravers (point, round and flat) and beading tools. Raised metal techniques have been utilized, and the fields are clean and smooth. My personal quality assessment of the nickel carvings range from above average to superior.

The carving characteristics for “Twofer” are listed as follows:

    OBVERSE
  1. Man with beard and moustache.
  2. Nice detailed 3 dimensional hat with curved brim, band and bow.
  3. Very sculpted ears (more complex on example 2).
  4. Nice elaborate collars.
  5. Slight alterations to profile nostril enlarged.
  6. Liberty and date remain intact.
  7. Executed on early date nickels.
    REVERSE
  1. All are 3/4 body length carvings.
  2. Man with beard and moustache.
  3. Man wears a hat or turban.
  4. Man carries a bindle or receptacle on his back.
  5. Man wears coat with buttons.
  6. Man has arms and hands outstretched.
  7. Subject appears to be blind or finding his way in the dark (one with cane).
  8. Five Cents, United States of America, and E Pluribus Unum remain intact.