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Introducing Carvetoon


By Arturo DelFavero RM552, Owen Covert RM686, and Ralph Winter LM37

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In December 2008 our webmaster Verne Walrafen featured a letter written by Wendy Circosta, assistant curator of the Power House Museum in Australia. Among Wendy's text were photos of four Hobo/Love token style nickels donated to the museum by the late William D. Bush formerly of Vancouver, Washington. At this point, the criteria were established for a new nicknamed hobo nickel artist. Since being posted on the website, 5 others have worked their way out of the "metal work." Shown here are the first four, "Cat, Mouse, and Spider" (possibly early depiction of Tom and Jerry) on a 1912 Liberty nickel, "Jiggs" (1916 Buffalo) from the comic strip Bringing Up Father, "Mr. Dithers" (1925 Buffalo) from Blondie, and "Sarge" (1935 Buffalo) from Beetle Bailey. The next 5 are owned by individual collectors: "Mickey Mouse" (1926 buffalo) owned by Ralph winter, "Horse in a Field" (dateless buffalo) owned by Jon Stock, "Devil with Pitchforks" (1907 Liberty) owned by Art DelFavero, "Chaplain Staneglass" (from Beetle Bailey) (1928 Buffalo) owned by Owen Covert, and another "Mickey Mouse" with no engraved border (1918 Buffalo) also owned by Ralph Winter.

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The name Carvetoon was established by Ralph Winter when I mentioned Owen Covert's suggestion of Carl Toon, my choice was the Comic Stripper. His works show a real stylized type of quality that is rare and maybe unique to his body of work. It seems to me that this artist made the jump from making Love Tokens to his own versions of Hobo Nickels, thus bridging the gap between the 19th and 20th century.

The carving characteristics for Carvetoon are listed as follows:

  1. Cartoon or Cartoon-like engravings,
  2. Love token style renderings on 20th century coins (mostly nickels),
  3. Strictly hand engraved coins no assisted powered tools used,
  4. Most carvings have ornamental borders (2 shown borderless),
  5. Straight lines remain from removal of metal in creating the smooth engraving surface and
  6. All are reverse carvings with total removal of reverse coin design elements.