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Introducing “Braidy” (a.k.a. Telephone Ear #2)     −by Art DelFavero RM552
{ from  Summer 2008 BoTales }
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   For many years a number of collectors have called this artist Telephone Ear or Telephone Ear #2. Make no mistake “Braidy” (Telephone ear #2) should not be confused with the artist already named Telephone Ear. Other than a similar shaped ear the differences are numerous. Although only five are shown here, many examples exist of this prolific carver抯 work. I personally made many attempts over the years to obtain one, with too low of a bid being a detriment. In 2007 I finally won one out of the Heritage Troy Wiseman collection auction (hammer price $176), this is the 1st example shown in the series of photos. Our 2nd was won in an eBay auction in August of 2005 for a price of $161. Number 3 was featured as Lot #52 in the O.H.N.S. 2007 Auction #15 (hammer price $55); it is also a plate coin in Steve Alpert抯 book (pg 34). Our 4th was won in an eBay auction in February of 2003 (hammer price $88). Example number 5 was featured as lot #44 in the O.H.N.S. 2002 Auction #10 (hammer price $165). All of these specimens are rendered on 1913 nickels except for the last, which is on a 1919, the average price is $129.
   Though initially it was hard to give a nickname to this artist, one feature stuck out to me, this carver never removes the Indian抯 braid on the host coin, he simply punches over it, making an extension to the hair and beard, hence the name “Braidy”.
   The carving characteristics for “Braidy” are listed as follows:
    1) A beard and hair made with a stone setters, or jewelers beading tool (circular punch).
    2) A punched over braid from the original host coin.
    3) A telephone receiver ,or C shaped ear formed by engraving.
    4) A derby style hat with hat band, turned down brim ends, and usually an added ornament.
    5) Slight alterations to the profile (notch above nose).
    6) A double row simple collar.
    7) Partial date and Liberty remaining.
    8) Adequate field work behind the head.
    9) A mixture of punching and engraving work.
   My personal assessment of quality for this carver is average to above average.
Introducing “Merchant”     −by Don Wolfe RM981 and Art DelFavero RM552
{ from  Summer 2008 BoTales }
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   Back in 2002 I took a chance on a bad eBay photo and bid the minimum required, $80.00 and $5.00 for shipping. Later she was mine (second example shown). Knowing that I had seen another one out there somewhere, out came the books, Bo Tales, and auction catalogues. It didn抰 take long to find the match, it came by way of Lot #47 in the August 1996, O.H.N.S. auction #4, with a hammer price of $275.00. Fast forwarding about 12 years to January of 2008 Don Wolfe, a collector and co-contributor to this article picked up this 3rd beauty on eBay for $200.00 and change. Low and behold, 3 months later Ralph Winter, (our editor) nailed this 4th specimen on eBay for $196.50 including shipping. The average price across the board is $190.00.
   We didn't choose a carving feature to name this artist but rather a look of the subject. Our “Merchant” is a crisp, well dressed looking fellow, with a tenacious drive to sell you something. In other words, he bears the look of the quintessential traveling salesman of an era gone by.
   The carving characteristics for the “Merchant” are listed as follows:
    1) A 3 dimensional derby style hat that rides low on back of the head.
    2) Punched hair and beard, and always a tuft of hair under the front of the hat.
    3) A simple and somewhat obscured ear.
    4) A double collar atop a shoulder.
    5) Dates removed.
    6) Well dressed fields.
    7) Nice use of hand gravers and liner tool evident.
    8) An over all sculpted 3-D look.
   Our assessment of quality for this artist is above average to above average high.
Introducing “Slim Shady”     −by Art DelFavero RM552
{ from  Summer 2008 BoTales }
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   This is another case where a bad photo yielded a great nickel. Back in 2001 when eBay was sort of new, and also when it was less easy to take a nice close up picture for an auction listing, I got lucky on a hobo nickel purchase. Due to a very poor photo I stole a great specimen from a much overlooked auction (hammer price $85.00). Upon receiving this hobo nickel from the East Coast (Massachusetts to be specific), I felt greatly rewarded for taking the gamble. My new acquisition became one of my all time favorite derby style hobos due to its clean engraver style artwork. Upon inspection, I noticed that this artist used a number of techniques to shade areas. The result is a very unique style of finished product. This use of shading prompted me to name this carver “Slim Shady”.
   It took about seven years for two more matches to show up, the first was Lot #1 in the 2007 O.H.N.S. auction (hammer price $176), and the second was from the February 2008 Heritage auction at the Long Beach Show (hammer price $184). The average price for all three is $148.33.
The carving characteristics for “Slim Shady” are listed as follows:
    1) Identical Derby hats with a bow, accented with a liner tool following the rounded contour.
    2) Similar ears with a flat center area.
    3) Wriggle cut shading behind the head.
    4) Very detailed collars and shoulder with similar components, also shaded with a liner tool.
    5) Dates removed.
    6) No alteration to the profile.
    7) Hair and beard created with fine dotted pattern over wriggle cutting.
    8) Added eyebrow.
   My personal assessment quality for this carver is above average high.