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Bert Prisoner Nickel or Unnamed Talent?
{ from  Summer 2007 BoTales }   −by  Art “Cinco de Arturo” DelFavero, RM-552
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Bert Prisoner
Romines June 1982
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Bert Prisoner
$349 on eBay Nov 2011

I
f you look at the bottom of page 54, in Del's first book, you will see a nickel that he describes as a Bert Prisoner nickel. In the past few months, two more specimens have surfaced: one on E-bay, the other purchased by myself in a private sale.


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Dots Beautiful
BoTales Spring 2009

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Dots Beautiful
BoTales Spring 2009

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Bert Prisoner
Romines June 1982
The left carving is from Art DelFavero's collection and the right carving is from Carol Lee Allen's collection.
[ The center carving is from Owen Covert's collection and was inserted just before press time.
Note the very strong similarity to the one on the left - Ed ]

U
pon examining my nickel, I noticed that what looked like a carved beard was in fact a finely punched beard created by use of a sharp crescent shaped punch, perhaps a larger beading tool with half of its head ground off. The artist would tap, then rotate the tool, then tap again to create a squiggle effect (this technique adopted by John Dorusa years later). Row after row was done, ultimately producing the illusion of the classic Bert or Bo hair strokes. All three nickels display a number of like characteristics, the above mentioned and similar collars, ears, and various amendments to the profile. The one big similarity, other than the formation of the hair and beard, is the field. Bert, or whoever, chose to fill in the field with literally hundreds of dots, created with use of a beading tool, or something similar. All display quite less graver work than we would normally see on the usual Bert rendering.
T
he two recently purchased nickels are not documented anywhere that I can find, of course, making them all the rarer − if they were produced by Bert while in prison or not. If anyone has seen or documented these previously, or has a similar specimen, please contact me at 248-939-2368, or at adelfaveros@twmi.rr.com.

[ Research has revealed that the “Dots Beautiful”, Spring 2009 BoTales,
carvings were done by a different artist than the “Bert Prisoner” carvings. ]
Spiffy: A New Known Unknown Artist
{ from  Summer 2007 BoTales }   −by  Robert Owen “SepticTankHank” Covert, RM-686

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S
piffy has the following characteristics:
1) Wide brim domed hat
2) Ear is deeply punched and looks like an upside down J
3) Punched beard
4) Hat band carved with two lines and is set to subject's back collar
5) Bow tie in the hat band
6) Top of ear overlaps or touches bottom of hat
A
ll of the carvings of “Spiffy” thus far, have been on the early date 1913−15 buffalo nickels. The first two carvings are from my own collection; whereas, the third carving is from the Ralph Winter collection. The fourth one is from OHNS Auction 11, lot 66.

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Webpage last updated:   Friday, December 9, 2011