Introducing Uncle Abe
By Mark Banks RM538, Art DelFavero RM552
In recent years I have acquired a small number of carved coins on denominations other than nickels. In 2013, I purchased a classic carving (#1) depicting the iconic Uncle Sam character done on a 1915 Lincoln Cent. In February of 2014 it became apparent that the carver of this cent had made others examples of this character when two others appeared in a week's time. Owen Covert (RM-686) brought to my attention a group of three carvings sold on eBay that included a close match (2) to mine done on a 1917 penny. A few days later a third example (3) done on a 1913 penny by this carver was auctioned on eBay. OHNS Archivist Arturo "Cinco" DelFavero was the lucky winner. This spring a fourth match to these carvings by Uncle Abe done on a 1909 Lincoln cent appeared (4). To my knowledge this is the first time carvings done on pennies have been attributed to a single individual. Perhaps a match carved on a nickel will surface in the future. I am nicknaming the carver of these pennies "Uncle Abe" after the handwritten name on the holder of the coin I purchased.
The carving characteristics for "Uncle Abe" are as follows:
- Extensive use of a graver.
- Carved lines outline the hat, shirt collar and jacket lapel.
- The top hats have a checkered pattern, bands with 3 or 4 carved stars and a slightly downturned brim.
- The hat's dome and hatband do not quite reach to the back of Lincoln's head.
- Long cut lines are used to create the hair and a long goatee.
- Lincoln's eyes have been modified on two examples.
- An ear is visible on two of the examples.
- A tall, pointed collar points up in the direction on the mouth.
- The bow tie has been enhanced.
- The jacket is altered to varying degrees.
- The first example has vertical lines across the jacket and shirt.
- All examples to date are carved on Lincoln cents from the 1910's.