Introducing Droopy

By Marc Banks RM538 and Art DelFavero RM552

Among the carved nickels I brought with me to this past January's Fun Show is one I call “Droopy” after the hobo's lazy eyelid. I had purchased the classic carving at a coin show the previous fall for $150. When I showed the nickel to OHNS QD Examiner Art DelFavero, he said he thought there was a match by the same artist. In no time at all, Art appeared with the 2009 Volume 18 Issue 1 of BoTales. Among the pictures of Hobo Nickels recently purchased on eBay for $124 on page 21 was a carving that clearly had been carved by the same person (2nd specimen below). With hope that a third example might appear, I returned home to Connecticut. Later in January, I received an email from Art with a picture of a third example from the collection of Warren Stabler.

In addition to the modified eye, the three nickels shared a number of characteristics that show that they are the work of the same previously unnamed artist.

Click to view enlargment. Click to view enlargment. Click to view enlargment.

The Carving Characteristics for “Droopy” are listed as follows:

  1. Punched eyelid.
  2. Domed hats whose outlines meets the brim which curves back behind the hat creating a three dimensional effect.
  3. Horizontal accent lines across portions of the hats.
  4. A hat band with vertical accents lines.
  5. The left fields of these carvings have been nicely dressed.
  6. Different portions of the word “LIBERTY” remain in the right field on each specimen.
  7. Punched hair, moustaches and beards and eyebrows.
  8. Altered profiles with enlarge nostrils.
  9. A slightly open mouth.
  10. Ears created with a small punch.
  11. The collars vary from elaborate to a simple double incised line.
  12. The first example brought to the Fun Show has a bow tie added.