Introducing Wild Man
Previously nicknamed unknown hobo nickel artists (see the OHNS Hobo Nickel Guidebook) all created hobo nickels that generally looked alike at first glance. The nicknaming of this unknown artist as “Wild Man” differs in two ways from all the previously nicknamed artists: 1) the nickels of this artist are rare (I know of only these two, but more probably will be reported in the future). 2) the two nickels by “Wild Man” illustrated here do not look all that much alike when first observed.
Note how different the hats are, as well as the hair and ears. One hobo nickel depicts a man with a round knit cap and long straggly hair and beard, with a rounded ear. The other pictures a man wearing a small derby, with a short rough beard, and a high collar.
But I believe that the following five diagnostic features, listed below, when taken together indicate that the same artist, here dubbed “Wild Man”, made these two hobo nickels.
- THE SMALL HEAD The Indian's head is significantly reduced in size. Thus there is much more space between the head (and the small hat) and the border.
- THE WILD EXPRESSION The subject displays a hyper-energetic wild or ferocious expression and appearance. The nostril is also enlarged.
- THE MOUTH The very unusual alteration of the mouth has the lips together at the profile, but towards the rear of the mouth opens up with a downwardly curved sneer.
- THE PEBBLY FIELD The enlarged field is dressed on both nickels with a small pebbly texture, probably created using a small beading tool. The same tool could have formed the pebbles on both llustrated specimens.
- 1913 NICKEL Both specimens are on 1913 nickels.