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Introducing Heini Schmidt


By Art DelFavero RM552 and Verne R. Walrafen HLM620

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Heini Schmidt is a German slang carrying the connotation of a “simpleton.” Heini, originally a nickname for Heinrich (Harry, and Henry in Anglo-Saxton languages), today in Germany is an unflattering term used to refer as a “goofball” or “moron.” It's a name you would call somebody who is a little dense at times in a funny way, sort of like a “simpleton.” Thus you don't really want to walk around calling Heinrichs Heinis unless they are good friends of yours.

So engraving “Heini Schmidt” on these coins seems to be in jest, quite similar to having today engraved “Alfred E. Newman” or “Homer Simpson” on a caricature - giving our hobo a Dunce hat if you will!

In September of 2008 an online auction yielded a beauty to Verne Walrafen for the fine hammer price of $52. At this time this coin seemed to be the third known specimen thus fulfilling the criteria for nicknaming. Shortly after, a fourth surfaced by way of archival O.H.N.S. Quality Designation forms. This coin was purchased by Bob Polk (RM476) from a coin shop during the 1990's for about $100. Our afore mentioned coins matched Lot #32, won in the O.H.N.S 1996 F.U.N. show auction for the hammer price of $190 (also shown on page 35 of the Hobo Nickel Guidebook by Steve Alpert) and Lot #8139 of 2007 Heritage F.U.N. show auction that hammered at $322. The averaging price for these coins is $166 and should be considered a bargain for the product.

The carving characteristics for “Heini Schmidt” are listed as follows:

  1. A derby hat engraved with the name “Heini Schmidt”.
  2. A deeply engraved outer profile by way of heavy round nose graver.
  3. All on early dated host coins.
  4. Field on top of hat and behind head is nicely done.
  5. Liberty remains intact on all specimens.
  6. All features are engraved and punched.
  7. All have similar collars.
  8. All have random shaped, un-matching ears.
  9. All have hair that extends under front hat brim along with full beards and moustache.
  10. Alterations to mouth area are evident.