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Introducing Hunchback


This rather scarce early hobo nickel maker produced beautiful two-sided carvings, with the standard design on the obverse, and a hiking hunchbacked hobo with walking stick on the reverse. His creations are on early-dated buffalo nickels.

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The diagnostic characteristics of a hobo nickel made by "Hunchback" are:

  1. A two-sided hobo nickel of the designs mentioned above.
  2. A smooth derby with thin straight brim, and hat band with bow.
  3. Punched hair-beard-mustache.
  4. Slightly altered nose, nostril, and mouth.
  5. A single punch alters the eye.
  6. A distinctive double collar.
  7. A textured field on both sides (apparently pounded).
  8. The ear varies is appearance and technique used.
  9. The hunchback on the reverse has a head with hat, eye, ear, profile, and beard.
The coat is smooth, with a pocket and one or two buttons.
The legs are small and go down to about the knees only.
The man is holding a walking stick in his left hand.

Additional specimens of hobo nickels by "Hunchback" can be seen in Joyce Romines' book: front cover; page 29 lower right; page 33, second row, on right; page 44, second row, third from left; page 60, middle of page.