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Introducing “Willie Wideneck”     −by Stephen Alpert LM10
{ from  Spring 2010 BoTales }
   Last November (2009) I purchased on eBay the hobo nickel shown here (with the shading above the hat). I already had a carving by this same carver (no shading, darker beard) that I purchased in 2003. Both works have a large hat, high collar, and a very wide neck. Art DelFavero found a third specimen (strongly checkered coat) in a July 1995 BoTales article (reprinted in the Fall 2008 BoTales) by Jeff Daniher. Jeff's nickel is pictured below on the right.
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   My 2009 specimen (on a VG nickel) was bought for $227.50 from a seller in Pennsylvania. My 2003 specimen (on an XF nickel) was also purchased on eBay, for $117.50, from a seller in Florida. Jeff's nickel was a gift from a neighbor. She was given it around the end of the Depression by a hobo in appreciation for food and being allowed to sleep in her parents' barn. That hobo said he was given the nickel by a man (another hobo?) named Willie whom he had helped. (See the BoTales article for the full story.) Thus I am nicknaming this old unknown artist “Willie Wideneck.
   The carving Characteristics for “Willie Wideneck” are listed as follows:
    1) A large hat, with a long downward-curved pointy-ended brim. The back of the brim lies on the shoulder.
         The hat band has a faint bow.
    2) The ear has internal detail, and touches or overlaps the hat brim.
    3) The nose is rounded.
    4) The beard, hair, and mustache are formed by overlapping zigzag wriggle cuts.
    5) The field is smoothly dressed. Wriggle cuts create the shading above the hat on one specimen.
    6) LIBERTY is removed.
    7) A high collar covers the neck, up to the chin, jaw line, or ear.
    8) A liner tool was used on the dome of the hat, and the coat shoulder area. The date is obliterated.
    9) The neck is very wide.
   10) Artistic quality is Above Average.
Introducing “The Chiseler”     −by Arturo DelFavero RM552
{ from  Spring 2010 BoTales }
   Back in January of 2009, BoTales editor Ralph Winter called me and said that he had just been to a coin show in Livonia, Michigan. He also told me that he had just purchased some hobos including a nickel made by nicknamed artist “Sam Francisco.” Feeling like being a scavenger, I made my way to the same show to pick up any scraps that he may have left for any other collectors.
   Once at the show, I perused the floor and eventually made my way to a dealer that Ralph had told me about. Looking through his items, I came across a “Howard Hughes” and also a somewhat average low carving that my gut screamed for me to buy, even though the price was $80.00 At this point I moved on to another dealer and ended up purchasing one more classic before going home.
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   During my travel back to Novi, I kept thinking about my average low nickel, knowing that I had seen this artist before. This feeling foretold what I would be doing for the rest of the afternoon and possibly the evening, searching for a match or better yet, matches. I tell you the truth; it didn't take more than a half hour to find the second specimen in Auction catalogue #11 as lot #8, which sold for $50.00. Less than an hour later I found the third; it belongs to none other than Steve Alpert, and is pictured on page #19 in the lower left corner of the Hobo Nickel Guidebook which he authored. His cost was $20.00 bringing the average price to $50.00. Verne Walrafen came up with the name “The Chiseler” upon seeing the scans and photos for processing. “Some people carve careers others chisel.”
   The carving characteristics for “The Chiseler“ are listed as follows:
    1) All features are punched and chiseled using only two chisels.
    1) All have hair, ear, and beard made in the same manner.
    3) Collar, shoulder motifs, and hat are very comparable.
    4) Little or no amendments to profile.
    5) Very smooth head (except for eye, nose & cheek) and fields with all legends removed (one has readable date of 1916).
    6) Limited but charming “Real Hobo Nickel” design traits.
Introducing “Sharp Ear”     −by Fred Avan RM908
{ from  Spring 2010 BoTales }
   In September 2009 I won the very nice two-sided hobo nickel below in an eBay auction. I knew I had previously seen carvings resembling this nickel. I contacted Art DelFavero who helped me find some other examples by this same artist including a single sided rendering owned by Verne Walrafen that he won in an eBay auction in May of 2008. I have nicknamed this carver “Sharp Ear” for the ear which tapers down to a sharp point. “Sharp Ear” carved both two-sided and obverse only pieces.
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   The carving characteristics for “Sharp Ear” are listed as follows:
    OBVERSE
    1) Crescent punched beard & hair tuft out from brim in front.
    2) Simple straight collar.
    3) Profile mostly unaltered (nose profile is slightly rounded & may have notch on some). Nostril slightly enlarged on all.
    4) Carved on 1913 Type1 nickel.
    5) Crescent shaped ear much like “Needle Ear” that tapers to a sharp point.
    6) Bow tie that is punched.
    7) Derby hat with vertical lines on both hatband & bow
    8) LIBERTY left in field.
    REVERSE
    1) Carved on 1913 Type1 nickel.
    2) Derby hat with band & bow.
    3) Crescent punched hair & beard.
    4) Jacket with low hung pocket.
    5) Pants that are engraved with both horizontal and vertical lines on leg.
    6) Field unaltered; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and FIVE CENTS remain.