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Newer News Older News
Introducing the first class... −by GRS Training Center, Glendo Corp. ... 12/04
BCW's Boxcarfull a Lore, Tall Tales, Witticism, Traveling Anecdotes, &c. ... 12/04
Website CD-ROM Available at a nominal cost ... 12/04
Hobo Nickel Club Holds FUN Auction From Numismatic News ... 12/04
Carvings Delivered to Arkansas OHNS Board voting results ... 12/04
2005 OHNS Token Candidates Line-up for Board Vote! COOL recent carvings ... 11/04
"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" Lee Griffiths' carved nickel ... 11/04
Is That a Sledge Hammer or a Roasting Ear? Whimsical rantings ... 11/04
Membership Medal Dies Finished! Landis/Wiseman project status ... 11/04
Flint Hills Prime Cuts Introducing Bob Finlay ... 10/04
My Happy Hobo Days −by Peter Hoffman ... 10/04
Two Bits of Tomfoolery −by Bill Jameson ... 10/04
Indian Nickel Carvings... −by Robert Shamey ... 10/04
2005 OHNS Token "Casting Call" −by Ron Landis ... 10/04
The Eyes Have It... Bulino Engraving −by Lee Griffiths ... 10/04
Home, Home on the Range... −by Verne R. Walrafen ... 10/04
Recent Nickel Carvings −by V-Dubya ... 10/04
Online Catalog Planned The first three auction lots ... 10/04
John Carter's Nickel Carvings "Picturetrail" Photo Albums ... 10/04
Flat-Plane Woodcarving −by Rick Ferry ... 10/04
Hobo nickel bearing Reagan image a rarity −by Carol Decker ... 10/04
Before The Hobo Nickel −by Ralph "Bazoo" Winter ... 9/04
Gandy Dancers and Handcars Whippany Railway Museum ... 9/04
Turn your chisel over... it's upside down! −by Verne Walrafen ... 9/04
The Trygg Family −by Roger Schroder ... 9/04
2004 has been a milestone... −by Robert Shamey ... 9/04
Nine Interesting Old Hobo Nickels −by Stephen P. Alpert ... 9/04
Continue reading older TABLE OF CONTENTS for OHNS NEWS items in our SCRAPBOOK
27 December 2004
Click to view enlarged version.
Bob Finlay

Introducing the first class dedicated to the art of Hobo Nickel Engraving
     NEWS RELEASE ~ Kelsey Barker... Monday, 12/27/2004 4:38PM, Emporia, KS ~ GRS is proud to offer this unique learning experience taught by one of the finest engravers of the
Click to view enlarged version.

Hobo Nickel, Robert 態ob Finlay. This class will cover topics such as the layout of design, the ins-and-outs of deep relief cutting, efficient background removal, sculpting for maximum effect and smoothing graver marks.
     This course is not for beginners, students must have the Basic Metal Engraving class and at least one year of experience in metal engraving or the instructor抯 approval prior to enrollment in this class. Class size is limited to 8 students, and will be held October 10th through the 14th, 2005 at the GRS Training Center in Emporia, Kansas.
     For more information about “Creating Hobo Nickels,” and other 2005 GRS engraving and stone setting courses call 800-835-3519 or visit our website at www.GrsTrainingCenter.com.
Creating Hobo Nickels
     Course Hours: 40. Classroom hours of operation are from 7:50am to 5:00pm. In addition to the available class time, optional evening hours may be offered to students for further practice of the day’s lessons. These hours will run from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. No new material will be covered during this period.
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     Prerequisite: Student must have Basic Metal Engraving and at least one year of experience in metal engraving.  Variations to the above requirements must have the instructor's approval prior to enrollment in this class. Class size is limited to 8 students.
     Course Objective: Students enrolled in this unique class will learn how to create an authentic art form, the Hobo Nickel. Using coinage from the 1920’s and 1930’s, you will acquire the skills needed to properly select a coin of value, discover the several different fixturing techniques as well as the proper layout of your design. The valuable deep relief skills which you will encounter in this class can also be applied to gun and knife engraving as well.
     Learning Objectives: 1) Introduce the tools used during the course, 2) The in-and-out of deep relief cutting, 3) Efficient background removal, 4) Blending and smoothing of the graver marks, 5) Sculpting for maximum effect and 6) Final individual project.

13 December 2005
Warning... ONLY visit Boxcar Whitey's website when your spouse, kids and pets won't need you for a few hours!
BCW's Boxcarfull a Lore, Tall Tales, Witticism, Traveling Anecdotes, &c. ... Click to EMail this person.
2003... Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec     2004... Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Click to visit Boxcar Whitey's superb website. Click to view enlarged version.  
2005... Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec     2006... Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul
Click on any month's abbreviation to read Boxcar Whitey's stories for that specific month.
BCW's Boxcarfull a Lore, Tall Tales, Witticism, Traveling Anecdotes, &c.

     Boxcar Whitey Click to EMail this person., aka Christopher Erickson, has this to say about his self described 'little website': "It features plenty of my historical railroad & hobo stories which I read on my radio show on 90.9 KRCL radio Salt Lake City."
     In V-Dubya's opinion it is content that counts in this regard which makes this "little website" a Goliath among Dwarfs. So... if you have your office door locked to keep out any pestiferous interruptions ...go visit Whitey's {BCW's Boxcarfull a Lore, Tall Tales, Witticism, Traveling Anecdotes, &c.} and Enjoy! ~ V-Dubya

Click to return from whence you came! Click to return from whence you came!
  Website CD-ROM Click to view enlarged version. www.HoboNickels.org  
10 December 2005

     Verne Walrafen... Friday, 12/10/2004 11:15PM ~ V-Dubya built a personal website when the Internet first made such things possible. Slowly over time I've added new websites for friends and organizations. I've probably done at least twenty of them by now... the most recent of which has been our very own OHNS website.
     My development platform... my personal computer ...has all of my websites coexisting in a directory structure that makes the creation of two different CD-ROMs a relatively straight forward, albeit labor intensive, effort.
      CD-ROM#1 has our OHNS website on it. It contains the following MAJOR components: 1) The Original Hobo Nickel Society, 2) The Gallery Mint Museum ScrapBook ( the CD-ROM version of the GMM ScrapBook has all the enlarged graphics files that are not available when using the Internet version ), 3) Recent Sales of Nickel Carvings and 4) Bill (Jameson) Zach Hobo Nickel Carvings ( Bill's Photo Album archive is only available on the CD-ROM disk and
isn't posted to the Internet
). This disk has an "autostart menu" and what is really wonderful is the speed that everything loads from the CD-ROM... no waiting for files to come down across the Internet!
     Now you can be sure that all this great data doesn't disappear some day when you turn on your computer. I will send you a CD-ROM... for $20 postpaid with future upgrades available after your initial acquisition for a nominal $10 postpaid. If you are ordering an upgrade be sure and tell me although I suspect I'll know because of the amount of your payment.
     Personal checks are fine. This isn't a profit motivated enterprise but I do need enough funds to purchase disks, cardstock, printer cartridges, shipping materials, postage and other supplies.
     Order from...   Verne R. Walrafen ~ 12000 Sunset Ridge Drive ~ Ozawkie, KS  66070-6045 Click to return from whence you came! Click to return from whence you came!

9 December 2005
Hobo Nickel Club Holds FUN Auction
Classic hobo nickel carver George Washington “Bo” Hughes carved this donkey and mountain range on a 1927 Buffalo nickel.
Source: collect.com from Krause Publications

     From Numismatic News ~ The Original Hobo Nickel Society's 13th annual auction will be held Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005, at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
     Featuring 160 lots, some with multiple items, the auction includes carvings by old masters like “Bo” and “Bert” as well as from other contemporary carvers.
     Also included in the auction will be several outstanding pieces by current artists that illustrate a variety of subjects from clowns to soldiers to representations of famous people such as Richard Nixon, Albert Einstein and P.T. Barnum.
     Pieces from the collections of Bill Goetz and Donal Pisar are offered.
     The auction is open to OHNS members only. Dues are $15 per year, which includes quarterly issues of the OHNS publication BoTales, the annual auction catalog and reduced fees on the grading of hobo nickels.
     Applications may be obtained in writing from OHNS secretary Verne Walrafen, 12000 Sunset Ridge, Ozawkie, KS 66070-6045, or by visiting Web site www.hobonickels.org.
     Prospective new members may also join and view the auction lots at the OHNS table at the FUN show prior to the auction.
     Mail bids must be received by auction manager Steve Alpert by Jan.10.

Copyright (c) 2004 Krause Publications, Inc. ~ All rights reserved. ~ 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990
6 December 2004
Click on any photo for an enlarged view of carving.
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Selected Obverse - 4.58g   MichaelCirelli BeaverPA
LeeGriffiths BlackfootID   Selected Reverse - 4.78g
Carvings Delivered to Arkansas ~ Ron Landis was quite pleased with the nickel carvings I gave him today. So this project is well underway and I am quite confident that we will have a really unique annual token in 2005. Before I let Ron start altering these carvings I made the scans shown above for documentation to record the original "other sides" that Ron will be grinding away to make dies. In case you are interested in the details of the Board's voting to select the above two tokens you can click on the title below:
2005 OHNS Token Candidates Line-up for Board Vote!
OHNS Board voting results ... 6 December 2004 ... 2005 OHNS Token
30 November 2004
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Obverse ONE - 4.58g
MichaelCirelli BeaverPA
Obverse TWO - 4.74g
JoePaonessa RacineWI
Obverse THREE - 4.62g
JoePaonessa RacineWI
Obverse FOUR - 4.95g
LeeGriffiths BlackfootID
Talent and
2005 OHNS Token Candidates Line-up for Board Vote!
Bill Fivaz... Saturday, 11/27/2004 9:01PM ~ WOW!!!  The entries so far are OUTSTANDING!
I can tell right now that it won't be an easy task selecting an obverse and a reverse
for the token.  I'm glad the carvings are being presented on our favorite "pallet" -
the 5 Cent piece.  This gives way to the 5 things we're looking for on the entries .......
Obverse FIVE - 4.69g
BillJameson MayfieldKY
Obverse SIX - 4.09g
BobShamey LigonierPA
Obverse SEVEN - 4.62g
JerryPardubicky We~CO
Obverse EIGHT - 4.77g
Je~Pa~ WestminsterCO
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Click on any photo for an enlarged view of carving.

     Verne Walrafen... Wednesday, 12/1/2004 4:30PM ~ The time has come for the OHNS Board to make a decision. Each of the ten Board members needs to give V-Dubya an order of preference for the eight obverse carvings and again for the three reverse carvings. Carvings are shown in the order that the scans were received. A member can decide carvings are tied or that they have no preference between certain carvings. They can not give extra weight to specific carvings nor can they throw out... refuse to include ...specific carvings.
     An example ballot might be as follows: Obv:3,2,6,145,78 Rev:1,2,3 which would indicate ties, no preference, between obverses ONE, FOUR and FIVE and a similar "tie" between obverses SEVEN and EIGHT. Another example ballot might be: Obv:5,7,1,4,23,68 Rev:1,23. If you have any questions you can either or telephone 785-945-3800. I can take votes by either of these modes.
     Any Board member not heard from before I leave for Arkansas sometime during the day on Sunday, December 5th, will not have their preferences included in the results I give Ron Landis along with the candidate carvings.
     One additional provision... since I don't have all the candidate carvings in hand at this writing I can only give Ron what I have received when I see him. Any candidate carvings arriving late will be forwarded to Ron if he hasn't already started work on his dies.
     Please remember that Ron will make the final choice between the carvings guided by the Board's preferences but allowing for technical die making considerations. Our favorite carving may not get used if Ron has reasons that it shouldn't be used.
     These carvings are really great in my opinion and I hope that the individual carvers will allow us to "hold over" any non-selected carvings for consideration again in subsequent years. I want to extend my personal appreciation and thanks for all the carvers who submitted carvings for this project. I know that more than one of them carved several nickels before they got one that was "good enough for OHNS."   Pride of workmanship always shows!

Reverse ONE - 4.78g
LeeGriffiths BlackfootID
Reverse TWO - Old Die
RonLandis EurekaSringsAR
Reverse THREE - Old Die
RonLandis EurekaSringsAR
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Click on any photo for an enlarged view of carving/die.
29 November 2004
Click on photo for enlargement!
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Lee's Simba Butt Plate (clip) OZ's "Zeke" - Bert Lahr Lee's "Cowardly Lion"
"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!"
I've been waiting for Lee Griffiths to give me something quotable to say about his latest feline masterpiece but he has headed out to "show the flag" at various gun and knife shows/conventions and is just way too busy to help me.
Lee told me that he sculpted this lion first and then added all the fine detail you see on this nickel carving using his Bulino engraving skills. It is astounding to me how different these two Griffiths lions are in appearance. They aren't simply copies of each other but rather have the appearance of two distinct individuals. Now is that cool or what?
To me the "Butt Plate" lion looks bolder and more virile than the "Nickel Carving" lion who has smaller eyes, a narrower nose and a weaker chin. Since I live in Kansas he brought to mind "Zeke" from OZ so I've named him "Cowardly Lion." Naming the carvings that I purchase... those that the carver hasn't named for us ...definitely adds dramatically to the pleasure I experience from collecting nickel carvings. ~ V-Dubya
Here is an active link for those of you who are interested in seeing a full picture of...   Lee's Simba Butt Plate.
28 November 2004

Is That a Sledge Hammer or a Roasting Ear?
Click to view enlarged version.
Original Carving               Graphic Mockup
     I knew when I saw the scan of this carved nickel that something was peculiar about it but I couldn't put my finger on it. Then it struck me... I don't recall seeing many reverse carvings that had the "FIVE CENTS" legend on the right.
     So I got to wondering if Ron could capture the central device, Hobo and Stump, and place it on his die with the "FIVE CENTS" in the usual position on the left. Just to test out what that would look like I captured the image in my graphics editor and here you see the result.
     I was told that our Itinerate Worker's sledge hammer started out as a hotdog on a stick but the scale was too difficult to get just right. Just in case you were wondering... I was puzzled at first myself and had to ask ...those are tree branches and roots behind our Hobo friend.
     Once I "flipped" the central image the tree took on the appearance of flames from a greatly oversized bonfire and the sledge hammer now looks like an ear of corn being roasted for a quick snack. You will note that as a result of the repositioning the "E PLURIBUS UNUM" legend had to be sacrificed which is a real shame but such is life.
     OK folks... I know I'm at least a full bubble off plumb but this sure is great fun. A real blast!
~ V-Dubya

1 November 2005
Click on photo for enlargement!
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Pewter Trial Strike - November 1, 2004
Membership Medal Dies Finished! Operation was successful - The dies for the membership medal are almost ready for hardening. The good news is I was able to straighten out the 1913 date on the nickel. Only slight doubling on the bottom of the first 1 is visible through a microscope. Also, I changed the little hobo on the reverse from the original design. He's a little larger and in a running pose as to fill out more of the design on the bottom portion. Should be able to go into production in a day or two. ~ Ron Landis... Monday, November 1, 2004 1:28PM
    List of Members Qualified to Receive a Membership Medal ... as of 11/20/04    
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
Rough Draft Artwork - March 29, 2004
31 October 2004
Flint Hills Prime Cuts
Click to view enlarged version.
The Flint Hills are comprised of about five million acres of grasslands, the largest unbroken tract of tall grass prairie
left in North America. Named for the layers of flint, also known as chert, that cover its surface, the Flint Hills are also
made up of limestone sediments. The Flint Hills are lush with native bluestem grasses and dotted with colorful wildflowers.
Located in east central Kansas, the area forms the heart of Kansas' beef industry.
  "Finlay's Art Requires Keen Eye, Steady Hand" - Jesse Tuel ...The Emporia Gazette, 11/20/04  
Article Reprint:   "Steady Hands and the Hobo Sprit Mint these Rare Nickels" ...Daily Journal Online, Missouri News, 12/14/04  
  Article Reprint:   "Steady Hands, Hobo Sprit Mint Nickels" ...CJOnline, The Topeka Capital-Journal, 12/23/04  
  Article Reprint:   "Steady Hands and the Hobo Sprit Mint these Rare Nickels" ...The Hannibal Courier-Post, 12/24/04  
Click to view enlarged version.
Click to see a larger picture of Bob Finlay

      When one hears the words "Prime Cuts" here in the Kansa Territories the first thing that comes to mind is Beef... as in beef steaks ...and not Nickel... as in nickel carvings! V-Dubya grew up in Emporia, Kansas and if the wind was out of the west one could hardly stand the smell of "money" wafting out of the stock yards. I never expected to encounter a local Kansas boy doing high grade nickel carvings but Bob Finlay has definitely "arrived" on the nickel carving scene.
      Bob is a multi-talented guy who does fantastic knife engravings as well as similar work on other weapons. He is known as "The Excavator" by his compatriots because of his predilection for carving exceptionally deep when engraving.
      Emporia is the home of Glendo/GRS Tools which not only sells engraving equipment but also holds numerous classes to teach professional engravers various new skills. Sam Alfano and Lee Griffiths both are GRS instructors and teach many classes each year.
Click to view enlarged version.
      GRS considers Bob a "friend of the family" and he is always invited to show off his work to their students. I first met Bob at one of the GRS Tuesday evening banquets which I have attended several times. Bob had two "Hobo Nickel" displays (shown above on the right) this week at the banquet and I talked him into loaning them to me so I could scan his nickel carvings. By the way, Bob also created the cool aluminum display holders themselves... told ya he was multi-talented.
      The thing that I personally think Bob does best is his small full figure hobo carvings. So... to conclude my introduction of Bob "The Excavator" Finlay ...shown here below are six of his little folks. Wonderful work Bob!
~ V-Dubya

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29 October 2004
Click to visit Peter Hoffman's website.
The refrigerater car ice comparment was clean and cozy, and protected us from the elements. Whenever possible we sought out empties to ride on the westbound trips.

Article excerpt: "The empty Pacific Fruit Express refrigerated cars were were our first choice to ride. At each end on the top there were compartments where block ice was loaded to chill the fresh fruits and vegetables. When the cars were empty, we could open the hatches and jump in and ride in a clean and protected space.
When standing we were about waist deep to the cars roof, giving us a great view of the train and countryside. The hatches were quite heavy and there was no chance of them shutting accidentally. And we could duck down inside to avoid detection.
My dad, before he died, was Superintendent of Car Service for PFE. If he could have seen us riding in his cars then he would have turned over in his grave. But maybe he was watching over us because we never had a problem.
" ~ Peter Hoffman
Click to read this article.   My Happy Hobo Days   Click to read this article.
16 October 2004
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Two Bits of Tomfoolery
      I carved this Tennessee State Quarter carving for our trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It should puzzle the flea market coin dealers that we visit. ~ Bill Jameson... Mayfield, Kentucky, Friday 10/15/2004 6:00PM
      Bill's latest carving puts me in mind of the "Farmer Brown" carving he did for me recently... (shown here on the right.) ~ V-Dubya

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14 October 2004

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Bob Shamey DEMO carving
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Le Soldat Du Chene
An Osage Chief
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Carved by Bob Shamey on a
1970-S PROOF Jeff. Nickel
     Indian Nickel Carvings... are popular even with non-nickel carving collectors. - At a recent coin convention I was discussing nickel carvings with a nickel collector who had not previously collected carved nickels. After the show that evening I roughed out what I thought of as a demonstration carving just to show the gentleman what might be done on a nickel carving. When I showed it to him the next day he insisted on purchasing it from me even though I protested that it wasn't carved up to "Shamey Standards"!
     The fellow then expressed interest in a better Shamey carving so I took the nickel carving project more seriously and the PROOF nickel carving on the above right is what I ended up with. Thought you might enjoy seeing these two specimens and to learn the story behind them. This nickel was MUCH harder than a Buffalo nickel and when I mentioned this to Verne he said something like: "Well... YEAH! Proof nickels are struck multiple times and exhibit a property called 'strike hardening!'"
~ Robert Shamey ... Click to EMail this person.

     During his presidency Thomas Jefferson instituted the practice of bestowing "Peace Medals" upon visiting Indian Chiefs as a way of symbolizing a bond between the friendly tribes and the U.S. Government. These medals pictured two hands clasping in friendship.
     One of the many recipients of these medals was the famous Osage Chief Le Soldat Du Chene (the soldier of the oak) who received his name after using an Oak tree as a shelter to fight off several enemies.
     It is believed that this Indian Chief had been a voice for reason and peace with the whites, as was his grandson who bore his famous ancestors name and negotiated for peace again with the whites during the 1860's and was written about by Laura Ingalls in her famous book "Little House On The Prairie".

Click to view enlarged version.
Sinter Claes −by DickS

     Nicely done Bob! Creating a carving with an actual historical tie and not just a contrived reference adds greatly to its value. I am absolutely convinced that nickel carvings are reaching new heights with the arrival of each fledgling carver that demonstrates pride in their nickel carvings. Dick Sheehan is also doing this even as we speak. FANTASTIC work guys!
     New carvers give us the benefit of their unique perspective on these imaginative folk art creations. Just when one thinks we have seem almost all possible alternatives explored... along comes a new carver who doesn't know that "it has all been done before" and, knowing no better, creates new and fascinating examples for us to admire.
     That is the true beauty of art and the human creative spirit. ~ V-Dubya

     In the Middle Ages he was a Wild Man, a beast-man who jousted with knights in Merrie Olde England and dashed through Germanic streets during Carnival, frightening children and adults alike. The Dutch called him "Sinter Claes".Click to view source material webpage. This evolved into the name we know today as being Santa Claus. Of course, America's Christmas Man wasn't called Santa originally; he gained that name in the mid-1800s. First, he was Pelznichol, or Nicholas in Furs; in Nova Scotia he was the Janney; in Trinidad he was Papa Bois; in Great Britain he was Yule until Ben Johnson christened him Father Christmas in his 1616 Christmas Masque. His names were as varied as the communities he both terrorized and blessed.

Click for Printer Friendly version. 12 October 2004

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  Click here to see all OHNS tokens issued from 1992-2004  
2005 OHNS Token "Casting Call"
   To ALL Active Nickel Carvers: I propose the following list of parameters for coin carvers submitting work for the 2005 OHNS token. I agree with Verne that many carvers do not use drawings (including myself for the most part) and since time is a factor, I would like to forego the design approval process but just suggest basic parameters for theme. I'm going along with Bill that the design should be a hobo theme. Bill has said he would like to see a Hobo sitting on a tree stump as one possible "hobo theme." I think traditionally based designs are best for the token. Since it is a struck piece... straying too far from traditional themes could result in something that doesn't at all resemble a hobo nickel.
   The following are my proposed parameters for carvers...
   1. All interested carvers must contact Verne, our OHNS Secretary, by 11/1/2004 indicating that they will be participating in this "Casting Call." A telephone contact number must be provided to insure efficient and timely communications thus avoiding misunderstandings during this extremely short time-frame project. Verne has unlimited anytime calling [ at 785-945-3800 ] so he will return any calls if the caller will simply leave their number.
   2. All completed candidate carvings must be received, not just mailed, by 12/1/2004 in order to be considered for the 2005 OHNS token. Mail to: OHNS, 12000 Sunset Ridge Drive, Ozawkie, KS 66070. If the artist prefers one side or the other, please state preference. The OHNS Board will then provide Ron Landis with an "order of preference" list for both the obverse and reverse candidate carvings submitted. Ron will make the final selection based upon the technical requirements necessary to produce dies from the submitted candidate carvings.
   3. Verne will be responsible to arrange for the final disposition of the non-selected candidate carvings and will correspond directly with the carving's owner/carver to insure their wishes are followed. These carvings can be returned (as the owner/carver directs and at their expense), held over for consideration the following year, sold at the following year's FUN auction (with the quality designation fee waived), donated to OHNS (without any charges) ...or... whatever else the owner/carver directs.
   4. The selected obverse carving will have the date removed and the 2005 date will be added to the die. The selected reverse carving will have "United States of America" and "Five Cents" removed. "Original Hobo Nickel Society" will replace the USA legend, and "Hobo Token" will replace the denomination. Ron Landis will engrave lettering in the dies, or this can be done by the original artists if they prefer.
   5. It is not necessary for the fields to be dressed absolutely clean, since this can be done very easily in the die. Try not to use extreme relief, as it may not translate well in the die making process, and make striking difficult.
   6. As part of the die making process, the opposite side of the carving will be lathe turned smooth. Gallery Mint will do this, but just be forewarned this is a part of the process. With all this in mind... it's not necessary to start with high grade coins.
   To OHNS Board Members: Selected carvers should receive something for their work. They should at least get their original carving back and they should receive a fixed number of free OHNS tokens (which GMM could donate), and of course, the spotlight in OHNS BoTales for their work. ~ Ron Landis... Friday, 8 October 2004 11:34AM
   To All Concerned: By the time you read this V-Dubya will have EMailed this announcement to every active nickel carver in the OHNS database who has an EMail address. I highly recommend anyone reading this to be certain that those carvers they know have seen this opportunity. I further suggest that any interested carver look at all the OHNS tokens that have been previously produced to get a feel for the sort of carvings that Ron is looking for and to avoid duplicating previously created themes. Verne will be away from home 10/18-27/2004 so will be unavailable for SnailMail or Telephone contact ...but... will respond to EMail questions during that period. V-Dubya ...
  EMail notifications sent out:  Monday, 11 October 2004  
  Click here to see all OHNS tokens issued from 1992-2004  

Aspirants: 10/12/04 JoePaonessa MikeCirelli 10/13/04 BillJameson 10/14/04 LeeGriffiths CliffKraft 10/27/04 JerryPardubicky 11/1/04 BobShamey
11 October 2004

The Eyes Have It... Bulino Engraving   −by Lee Griffiths
Click to view enlarged version.
V-DubyaClick camera to see this person.
Click to view enlarged version.
     When it came time to add Verne's eyes to this "V-Dubya" nickel carving I needed to make them look like they were being seen through the lenses of his eye glasses. I decided to employ an engraving technique I've used many times while engraving scenes on guns. My fall back position, should this idea fail to produce the desired results, was to shade the lenses and show him in his Polaroid "fishing" sun glasses.
     The technique I used is called Bulino Engraving which is generally defined as: "Shallow, pictorial engraving designs, often of photographic quality, executed directly by hand onto the steel with a fine-pointed scribe called a burin, without the use of a chasing hammer. Also called banknote engraving. Often seen on high-grade, contemporary Italian shotguns."
     As far as I know this is the first time this technique has been used on a nickel carving unless perhaps Sam Alfano has done it previously. Can anyone point out an example of a nickel carving that used Bulino Engraving?
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A Bulino Engraved Tiger
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A Bulino Engraved Leopard

10 October 2004

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Coal Car Tony, Frisco Joe, & Tea Time Thomas checking out the local facilities.
Home, Home on the Range... Home Found in the Kansa Territories
   However our Hobo friends look like they aren't exactly satisfied with the modern facilities provided here. Regardless, we are pleased that they have come to live and work here. They are expected to provide invaluable expert assistance in showing off our carved "Hobo" nickels at conventions outside the territories. Verne R. Walrafen ...
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It looks pretty much the same no matter what angle you look at it from!
Our Multidisciplinary Staff:
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
Coal-Car Tony
  Tony has never been inside a coal car, but gets his name from looking like he has. Tony is pretty much a loner; having never placed bathing too high on his list of priorities. Actually, he can be rather interesting to talk with; until the wind changes direction. Originally from New Jersey, his wife threw him out saying: "don't come back until you take a bath" that was eighteen years ago. Not that he wouldn't take a bath, let's say; if he were to fall into a river and had a bar of soap handy.

Our Senior Staff Resumes:
  Available upon request.
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
Tea-Time Thomas
  One of the oddest stories to come down the pike in some time; Tea-Time found his way to America as a servant to a wealthy English gentleman. Traveling to Chicago by train with his employer, he was not allowed to ride inside the passenger cars. He settled in for the trip inside an empty cattle car; where he met some "Gentlemen of the open road". They quickly deduced that with his English accent and skills as a man-servant, he would do well to strike out on his own. During the last ten years on the road, Tea-Time has concluded they may have overstated his prospects.
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
Frisco Joe
  If there is a job that Joe hasn't done, it probably ain't been invented yet. From boxer to undertaker, Joe has tried his hand at it for a time. His old man swore Joe would never amount to a hill of beans, but Joe can take on any job and do it well. It's his problem with the bottle that always seems to mess up a good thing. When he gets paid on Friday, you won't see him again until that money is liquidated. It's a vicious cycle that Joe has come to accept as his lot in life.

Click for Printer Friendly version. 9 October 2004
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DearMom -LeeG Workers -LeeG Snoozin' -LeeG Slumber -LeeG V-DubyaClick camera to see this person. -LeeG
Click to view enlarged version. Recent Nickel Carvings
"Ars longa, vita brevis" - Hippocrates
Long after we are dust future numismatists will admire the nickel carvings being preserved for them in our collections... we are merely caretakers of these treasures. There are so many wonderful carvings being created today that my biggest problem in showing you these will almost certainly be those fine carvers who may be offended because I didn't show all y'all examples of their art here. All I can say is...
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ElderKami -BillJ "Maybe Next Time Folks!" V-Dubya ... CoraGoosberry -BillJ
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ManuAloha -DickS Neptune~Poseidon -SamA KidogoRafiki -BobS LeithPhroyan -JoeP OHNS.WebmasterClick camera to see this person. -MikeC
   Naming Carvings Footnotes:
1) Elder Kami, meaning 'A prickly lizard'Click to view source material webpage., a Bidjigal man from the Botany Bay area, is a tribal elder and a 'Dreamer'.
2) Cora Goosberry, one Eyed Poll wife of King BungareeClick to view source material webpage., was known as 'Queen of Sydney to South Head'
or 'Queen of Sydney and Botany' and was a Sydney identity for 20 years after Bungaree's death in 1830.

3) Manu Aloha, [mah' noo ah loh' hah], means Lovebird (Parrot) in HawaiianClick to view source material webpage., so called because it can extend greetings (aloha).
4) The Roman Neptune 'God of the Sea'Click to view source material webpage. and the Greek Poseidon 'God of the Sea'Click to view source material webpage. were both names for the same deity.
5) Kidogo Rafiki, meaning 'small friend'Click to view source material webpage., was drawn from the webpage 'Useful Swahili'.
6) Originally coined by Thomas Keightley in The Fairy Mythology (1850) from the Irish 'Leith Bhroyan' or
Leith Phroyan, meaning 'one shoemaker'Click to view source material webpage., comes the name Leprechaun.

7) From MikeC: OHNS.Webmaster, is known in certain circles as 'V-Dubya'Click camera to see this person., a wild and wooly umbrae in his days.
Much about him is a mystery. Legend has it he ran with the 'Kid' in his younger days. That's 'Willy The Kid.'
( Do you suppose Mike meant "hombre"? Although... I reckon "umbrae" is aptly descriptive also. - vrw )
6 October 2004

Click to view enlarged version. Click to view enlarged version. Online Catalog Planned    If plans work out we will post an "Information Only" Auction#13 Catalog with color photographs here on our website. The "official" catalog will be the one our Editor prints... the online copy may not have the final editing done on it that the paper copy will undergo. Check out this DRAFT example of the page showing: The First Three Auction Lots. This page probably isn't precisely what the final posted catalog will look like but it gives you an idea what our plans are. ~ Verne RWalrafen ...

5 October 2004

Click to visit Picturetrail's website. Click to visit Picturetrail's website. Click to visit Picturetrail's website.
Doug's Boat HamBone
      John Carter's Nickel Carvings - You will find Photo Albums of John's nickel carvings here: John Carter's Nickel Carvings. "Picturetrail" even provides a nice "slideshow" option for viewing the scans. The only problem I see with John's carving of Doug's Boat is that he left out the dry dock schaffolding. Doug has been building his boat for years... maybe he launched it while I was fishing for sturgeon.  ;-)  Verne RWalrafen ...

4 October 2004

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1950's "Hobo" by Trygg
Standing 6" tall.
"Hobo" by Gunnerson
Standing 5" tall.
1957 "Hobo" by Trygg
Standing 6" tall.
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      Flat-Plane Woodcarving - These old hobos are a tiny portion of my collection. The Gunarsson carving is AMAZING, while the two Trygg carvings are pretty basic in their design.
      Gunnersson carved in the "Swedish Flat-Plane" style which has been revived by Harley Refsal who wrote the 1992 book Woodcarving in the Scandinavian Style which tells the history of the style and its progression to present day.
      Trygg carved in a "Modified Flat-Plane" style; being a production carver, his style incorporates the rule that "less-is-more". As simple as that may sound, it takes a special talent to create the desired expression with a minimum of cuts. It is difficult to add much to the article The Trygg Family that was done by Roger Schroeder. Rick Ferry... Thursday, 30 September 2004 4:27PM
      For those interested... I also see that Harley Refsal is also the author of: Art and Technique of Scandinavian Style Woodcarving: Step-By-Step Instructions and Patterns for 40 Flat-Plane Carving Projects. ~ V-Dubya

1 October 2004
Hobo nickel bearing Reagan image a rarity   −by Carol Decker

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The PERFECT Cameo!
      By incorporating the 2000 date in the legend with LIBERTY Ron Landis was able to eliminate the original date on the host nickel. The result is a SUPERB carving that "looks like it could actually be a U.S.Mint pattern nickel"... which is my definition of carved nickel perfection.  - V-Dubya

     Talk has been circulating for months about the desire by some to put Ronald Reagan on this country's coinage or currency. No issue of Numismatic News can be read without finding a debate on both Reagan and state quarter designs.
     I have been unimpressed, but then again I am already the owner of a nickel dated 2000 with Reagan's likeness on the obverse. How is that possible, you ask?
     The coin in question came up for sale at the Florida United Numismatists show in 2001. It was auctioned, although not through a big outfit as one might expect, but rather through a club.
     The Original Hobo Nickel Society conducts an annual auction to raise money for scholarships to the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminars.
     It was at this event that I obtained a modern hobo nickel carved by Ron Landis, whose name and works are known to many in numismatic circles. Professionally, Landis is a die engraver at the Gallery Mint, but in his leisure time has taken to the tradition of carving hobo nickels.
     As with many hardworking people, often there is little time for leisure, resulting in few of these coins ever being offered for sale. Most are sold through auctions with the proceeds going to support the Gallery Mint Museum, OHNS or the educational activities of the ANA.
     My first introduction to Landis' incredible talent was at the Heritage auction held at the 1995 ANA convention in Anaheim, Calif., where two hobo nickels and one hobo dollar were auctioned. Although it took me a few years, I was able to add a Landis original to my collection.
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Truth be told!
      Carol "BoFrog" Decker, OHNS RM#576 (joined January 2000), was clearly unaware of Steve Adams' October 2003 nickel carving "Ronnie". I am certain we will see other artists carve their own interpretations of our former Teflon President over time.  - V-Dubya

     The "Reagan Coin" received a superior quality rating (the highest rating possible) by the OHNS certification board. The coin was originally intended to serve as a sketch for a pattern of a circulating coin which Sen. Phil Gramm was pushing for.
     However, another truer likeness of Reagan was later carved for that purpose. This coin was originally valued at $900 by the artist/engraver, but as the credit card company ads might say, its value is "priceless," especially for all those collectors vying to get Reagan on a coin.
     Other than the proposed presidential series, this may be his only chance.

[  Reprinted from Viewpoint with permission ... Numismatic News ... Sept. 7, 2004 ... p.7  ]
Carol Decker is a hobbyist from Blaine, Tenn.   Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects.
The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News.   To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to:
David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990     Send e-mail to: harperd@krause.com
29 September 2004
Before The Hobo Nickel             Ralph "Bazoo" Winter

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Bust of Napoleon III on Dix Centimes coin has been capped with a German spiked helmet.
Unaltered 1854 Dix Centimes.
      Earlier this year I bid on and won an unusual altered coin in an eBay auction. The coin is a very fine Dix (Ten) Centimes French coin, which would which had been altered (ala hobo nickel style) with some skillful engraving.
      After winning the coin I did a little research to find out why and when this coin had been altered. Since this is a French coin, I first need to provide a mini history lesson.
      In November, 1852, a new plebiscite overwhelmingly approved the establishment of the Second Empire, and Louis Napoleon became Emperor Napoleon III. For eight years he continued to exercise dictatorial rule, tempered by rapid material progress. Railway building was encouraged; the rebuilding of Paris and other cities brought a construction boom; and the first French investment banks were authorized. Napoleon's foreign ventures were successful at first. The Crimean War (1854-56) and the Congress of Paris restored French leadership on the Continent.
      Napoleon then turned toward Italy. A long-time supporter of Italian nationalism, he met the Sardinian premier Camillo Cavour at PlombiEres and secretly agreed on a joint campaign by France and Sardinia to expel Austria from Italy and to establish an Italian federation of four states under the presidency of the pope; France was to be compensated with Nice and Savoy. War broke out in 1859. However, after the costly victory of the French and Sardinians at Solferino, Napoleon suddenly deserted his Italian ally and made a separate peace with Austria at Villafranca di Verona. His act was partly motivated by the opposition of the French clerical party to a policy threatening the independence of the papacy at Rome.
      Having lost much popularity, the emperor inaugurated a more liberal domestic policy, widening the powers of the legislative assembly and lifting many restrictions on civil liberties. During the "Liberal Empire" (1860-70) such opposition leaders as Jules Favre, Emile Ollivier, and Adolphe Thiers were outstanding figures. A commercial treaty (1860) with Great Britain opened France to free trade and improved Franco-British relations. Imperialistic expansion was pushed by the French-British expedition (1857-60) against China, the acquisition of Cochin China, and the construction of the Suez Canal. Less fortunate was Napoleon's intervention (1861-67) in the affairs of Mexico; the French troops finally withdrew upon the demand of the United States, leaving Emperor Maximilian to his fate.
      Napoleon remained neutral in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, underestimating Prussian strength. The rise of Prussia under the leadership of Otto von Bismarck revealed a new rival for European power. To regain prestige Napoleon, at the behest of advisers, took an aggressive stand regarding the candidature of a Hohenzollern prince to the Spanish throne. This gave Bismarck the opportunity to goad Napoleon into war.
      The Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) brought ruin to the Second Empire. Napoleon himself took the field, leaving his empress, EugEnie, as regent, but he early devolved his command to Achille Bazaine. He was caught in the disaster of Sedan (September 1, 1870), captured by the Prussians, and declared deposed (September 4th) by a bloodless revolution in Paris.. Released after the armistice (1871), he went into exile in England, bearing defeat with remarkable dignity.
      Following the shameful defeat of Napoleon III in Sedan in September 1870, skillful French engravers altered coins in a satirical manner to ridicule the French emperor. So my "French Hobo" was most likely engraved in the Fall of 1870.

28 September 2004

Click to visit Whippany's website.
Click to visit Whippany's 'Our Handcars' webpage.
  Gandy Dancers and Handcars  
      Until fairly recent times, the jobs of laying track or maintaining railroad roadbeds was the responsibility of Section Gangs who performed the work by sheer physical labor.
      A common name for such laborers was Gandy Dancer, derived from their use of tools made by the Gandy Manufacturing Co. of Chicago, Illinois.
      The old-time Gandy Dancer did his work by hand. His tools consisted of picks, shovels, ballast forks and lining bars. The brutally hard labor was often relegated to minorities or recent immigrants, such as Chinese, Irish or African-American section hands.
      In order to move heavy objects such as ties or rail, teamwork was required. Commonly, and particularly among African-American section hands, songs were chanted to pass the time as well as keep the gang working in unison. The songs or chants would have a specific tune or beat. At certain points, the workers would lift together, allowing a few men to exert enough force to move heavy sections of track or rails. As they moved, they appeared to "dance"... giving us the second portion of their nickname.

[  Quoted from the Whippany Railway Museum's webpage Pump Car, Velocipede, Light Inspection Car and Section Gang.  ]
Click to visit Whippany's 'Our Handcars' webpage.
Click to visit Whippany's 'Our Handcars' webpage.
24 September 2004
Turn your chisel over... it's upside down!             Verne RWalrafen ...

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      One of the provisions that Steve Adams made when he agreed to entertain V-Dubya this fall was that I would attempt to carve a nickel so that I'd know a bit about what is required to create such art works. He didn't know that I don't have a single artistic bone in my body. However, I am an engineer and do have patience and an eye for minute detail.
      Steve opened his work shop and home to me. He provided a wide selection of tools for me to experiment with. I quickly found that the motorized/power equipment required an experienced hand which was well beyond me. An optivisor, chisels, punches, hammer, abrasive stones, oil and a paper towel were all I could use with any control worth mentioning.
      I am a big fan of using a variety of textures in nickel carvings so I created a "Sampler" quite similar to what sewing/needlework students have done for generations. Steve started me off with a couple chisel cuts and turned me loose to experiment. About halfway through he made the cut to separate the hair and beard from the facial skin areas.
      With Steve's prompting I was finally able to consistently remember which edge of the chisels does the actual cutting... definitely a critical thing of course. "Walking" a chisel was a really fun technique to learn! The most surprising thing I learned was how quickly a nickel carving can be completed. Steve, with years of experience, invested probably five minutes and I added at most a couple hours. It would have gone much quicker if I hadn't been a complete novice. Another totally unexpected thing that I found out is how soft the metal is once a thin surface layer is removed. The lightest touch with virtually any tool leaves a mark! Somehow I had always thought of a nickel as being a HARD metal!
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      There are, in my opinion, two things that actually are hard to do when carving nickels. First, is the true mastery of the engraving tools themselves of course... particularly the power tools that are so versatile and efficient. Second, and most importantly, is the imagination and artistic talent it takes to create original carvings that aren't simply knock-offs/recreations of another artist's work. It is obvious that creating the same few designs over and over again would be singularly unrewarding.
      While I was fumbling my way through this project Steve was putting the finishing touches on his masterpiece "Mona Lisa." It was so cool to watch Steve enlarge the hole for the gold insert... he made it look so easy. I have it on good authority from a talented and experienced carver that such inlays aren't actually as simple as Steve made it appear. I wasn't watching when he inserted the gold piece and stamped it with his "SA" signature. Most likely I was upstairs with Heidi feeding my face. The Adams' family sure knows how to feed a fella! I had one truly fantastic experience... Thanks Steve and Heidi!

23 September 2004
Click to read this article.     The Trygg Family     Click to read this article.
Roger Schroder - Jan/Feb 2003
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The Tryggs often carved hoboes. The 16" tall figure
on the left was carved by Carl Johan Trygg.
The hobo on the right was carved by Carl Olof Trygg.

Editor's World - January 2003
      The Trygg Family: prolific carvers who spanned two continents ~ Several remarkable facts emerge about the Trygg family. First, this family of father and three sons produced a great many carvings without the aid of apprentice or machine. Second, they sold their work in several European countries and in North America. And third, a single Trygg caricature will go for as much as $400 at an online auction site, making a simple wooden figure about as precious as gold.
      The story of the Trygg family began in Sweden. Carl Johan Trygg, one of nine children, was born in 1887 to Staff Sergeant Carl Oskar Thrygg in Sweden. Why the consonant loss occurred is a mystery, but interviews reveal that Carl Johan, with little education, left home at the age of 12 to earn money to help his poor family. He found employment in a company that made clocks and later worked for a shoemaker. He also took a job at a laundry and earned an income at a logging mill. In his spare time he carved rough-hewn figures of people he knew from his background: farmers, laborers, preachers, policemen and seamen.

Click to read Roger's Jan'03 column... Click to read this article.
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
A well-carved facial expression on this hobo
carved by Carl Olof Trygg is open to many
possible interpretations.

Editor's World - February 2003
      Collecting Trygg Carvings ~ In my January column, I introduced the Tryggs, a father named Carl Johan and three sons桟arl Olof, Nils and Lars梬ho were such prolific carvers that the number of figures they turned out is well over 10,000.
      I grant you that I am impressed with numbers, especially ones this big that relate to woodcarving. As someone who recently started dabbling in knife work梩he Tryggs were predominantly knife carvers, I know the effort it takes to get details out of a block of wood. An awful lot of chips, many of them hard-earned, must have fallen to have produced so many figures with distinct facial features, a variety of poses, and clothing details that are downright artistic.

Click to read Roger's Feb'03 column... Click to read this article.
www.CarvingWorld.com ~ Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc. ~ Copyright 2002 ~ All Rights Reserved
1 September 2004
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Hobo Walker Indian John Alexander Albert Sun Lady

      2004 has been a milestone... in my career as an artist working in metal. - It was in January that I was introduced to 'Hobo Nickels' and my life took on a whole new dimension... Some have said an obsession, but I consider the carving of 'Hobo Nickels' to be the greatest challenge, to date, of my artistic career.
      I have to say that I have never had so much fun in the doing... and satisfaction in the completion of any other form of metal art.

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      Over the course of this last year many of my friends have expressed a desire to possess one or another of my carved nickels. Of course this is not possible, I would end up with none of my own. I thought that I would try to make a mold of one of my carvings and attempt to cast a copy.
Click to view enlarged version.
The casting (John Wayne) turned out perfect, although the finished product is about 5% smaller than the original, all of the minute detail came through. Each of these reproductions is signed, dated, numbered and marked 'Replica' on its edge. My friends were happy with their gifts and a whole new idea was born.
      I have chosen eight of my carvings to work with, made molds and cast copies which I have then mounted in a silver bracelet, that I also designed and cast. I then donated this bracelet as a gift to The OHNS to auction in January of 2005 at the fun show in Ft. Lauderdale. Along with the bracelet I submitted one of the eight originals for the annual auction. ~ Robert Shamey ... Click to EMail this person.           [ Kinda hard to tell the ORIGINAL from the CASTING isn't it? ~ V-Dubya ]

Left-click on bracelet photograph or on a carving's name to view enlargements.
1 September 2004
Click to read this article.     Nine Interesting Old Hobo Nickels     Click to read this article.
Stephen PAlpert ... Click to EMail this person. - April 11, 2004
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph. Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.

      I would like to share with OHNS members the following nine old and interesting hobo nickels, most of which I acquired over the past year. There are always new, fascinating, and unusual hobo nickels awaiting to be discovered.

Click here to read Steve's complete article... Click to read this article.
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