By Marc Banks, RM 538
I purchased the first (1) of the three classic carvings pictured above from a Connecticut dealer in 2010. It was the work of a skilled, unknown carver who created a well-dressed character with a closely cropped beard wearing a fancy three-dimensional hat, a shirt and tie and a jacket with a lapel. A second carving (2) with all the same adornments and clearly by the same carver was purchased from a collector two years later at the FUN Show in Florida. Although I assumed talented artist had surely carved more than two hobo nickels, it wasn't until earlier this year (2015) that a third match appeared. Bo Tales editor Ralph Winter sent me pictures of a half-dozen carvings from his collection. Among these was the carving (3) I had been waiting for. It also shared the major characteristics of the other two specimens. I am nicknaming the carver of these hobo nickels "Long Tie" as this telltale accessory is used on all three works
1. A domed hat with a three dimensional brim folded up on the side and a band decorated with vertical lines. A bow was added to example 3.
2. To date carvings by this artist depict a well-dressed man wearing a long tie that fans out to the rim of the nickel.
3. Hair, moustache and closely cropped beard are composed of small circular marks created with a fine beading tool on examples 1 and 2. Fine cut lines are used for the hair on example 3. Example 1 has an eyebrow created in a similar manner.
4. A kidney shaped ear is nicely defined with a wide outer rim and inner details.
5. The Indian's profile has been modified to varying degrees.
6. Nice depth to the shirt and jacket collar (with a lapel).
7. Details on specimens 1 and 3 have been darkened adding nice contrast to the carvings.
8. The fields are nicely dressed. A continuous arc has been created between the rear hat brim and the back of the shoulder on all three specimens. Liberty has been removed on 2 and 3.
9. The dates have been removed.