Introducing Van Dyke

By Barry Homrighaus RM1548 and Art DelFavero RM552

A few months ago, I began corresponding with Member Barry Homrighaus. Like the most of us, I found him to be an ardent and of course obsessed collector. Soon after our first contact Barry started sharing photos from his collection with the purposes of matching in mind. This proved to be a fruitful event as illustrated in this issue of "Bo Tales".

One image looked very familiar to me, so immediately I went to work searching the archived QD files (example 1). I nearly had to complete the QDs to find another specimen by the same artist (example 2). Shortly after that I spotted an eBay for sale lot offered as a BIN or Best Offer. I knew this was a match to the aforementioned coins, so I made an offer that was eventually accepted (example 3).

I asked Barry if he had any ideas for nicknames to attach to this artist and he came back with the perfect moniker. He chose "Van Dyke" which he explained was a reference to the 17th century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641). It seemed that the artist sported a Beard and moustache combo that would come to be known as a Van Dyke in future days. All of the subjects shown on these examples also flaunt this facial hair style.

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

The carving characteristics for "Van Dyke" are listed as follows:

  1. All sport a Van Dyke style beard and moustache combo engraved in a random arrangement.
  2. All have high domed derby hats with hatband and smaller bows.
  3. All have incuse ears that resemble a script E letter.
  4. All have eye brows.
  5. All with similar collars, with differing added tie and shoulder amendments.
  6. All show minimal alterations to profile.
  7. The hat brim points to the left of the L of LIBERTY.
  8. All with LIBERTY and dates left intact.
  9. All fields behind head are recessed leaving a sharp and defined edge on rim.
  10. Carved on early dated nickels (1913-17).