Introducing Ethnic Eddie

By Chris Dempsey LM64

In my early days of hobo nickel collecting, I purchased my first, and one of my favorite, Irishman carvings online (left photo). At the time, I matched it to two other similar carvings, however, the second and third Irishman had photos that were less than desirable, and so this carver was shelved until either better photos or new carvings surfaced. Then came the 2012 auction, lot number 4 (center photo). I was positive this coin was a match, but again, it was not exact, and it was determined it was not close enough to positively ID this coin as the third match, so again, it was shelved.

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The carving characteristics for "Ethnic Eddie" are as follows:

  1. Crescent shaped punched bearding.
  2. Highly stylized nose and profile.
  3. Traditional outer ear, with "T" shaped inner ear cuts.
  4. Shaded shoulder using diagonal cuts.
  5. Stippling is prevalent on hat and collar.
  6. Circular punched eye.
  7. Curved, incuse cut brim.
  8. Collar and hat style vary depending on subject.
  9. Clean, smooth fields, with better than average finish work.
  10. Additional stylizations, such as a Shamrock or writing will be sometimes used.
  11. Date and LIBERTY remain intact.

At the time of this write-up, carvings by "Ethnic Eddie" appear on early date nickels.


The following carvings were originally identified and nicknamed as a new carver named "Topper." It was later determined that carvings by "Topper" were actually carved by already existing carver "Ethnic Eddie," and as such, "Topper" was removed as a standalone carver. The following photos are additional carvings by "Ethnic Eddie." It should be noted that other subsequent themes were probably carved by this carver, which may or may not match exactly the carvings shown in this writeup.

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