Introducing Billy Acher

By Marc Banks, RM 538 and Arturo DelFavero, RM552

Not long after I traded carving 1 below OHNS archivist Art DelFavero located another carving (2) by the same unknown artist in the archives. My remorse didn't last too long, I was able to locate yet another work (3) by the same carver about a week later. I was eventually able to acquire the carving. These carvings feature raised hat brims, ears and collars. There are interesting alterations to the eyes, noses and mouth. My wife Joyce thought the mouth curled open at the back gave these carvings a disgruntled look. Disgruntled individuals and complainers are sometimes referred to as "bellyachers". I thought "Billy Acher" was just the nickname for the artist who added this facial feature to these carvings.

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The carving characteristics for "Billy Acher" are as follows:

  1. Mouth modified, open at back. This alteration is more prominent on Examples 1 and 3.
  2. Derby with raised brim, crown smoothly dressed or textured, hat band with bow, plain or decorated with vertical lines.
  3. Punched hair (extends across forehead), eyebrow, moustache and beard.
  4. There is a distinct wedge-shaped separation between the ear, hair, beard and collar on all three examples.
  5. Punched eye, wrinkles behind eye on Example 1.
  6. Raised ear, with minor variations in shape, punched interior.
  7. Profile altered with notch at bridge and enlarged nose. Nostril enhanced.
  8. Some texturing present on neck (Examples 2 and 3).
  9. Triangular neck area that extends under the ear to the collar is virtually identical on all three specimens.
  10. Portions of collar raised, wavy edges on Examples 1 and 2.
  11. Texturing across jacket of Example 2.
  12. Dressed fields, LIBERTY remains on Example 3, portions of LIBERTY remain on Examples 1 and 2. Example 1 is on a 1913 nickel, dates are removed on examples 2 and 3.