Introducing Braidy

By Art DelFavero RM552

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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's 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's 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's 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.