Introducing Hy Ear

By Marc Banks, LM 538 and Art DelFavero, RM 552

Recently a hobo nickel (left) was offered on eBay that looked very familiar. Depicted on the obverse was a lightly bearded man wearing a high crowned derby with a wide band. I looked through my collection and found a clear match (middle). OHNS archivist "Cinco" DelFavero ultimately won the auction. I sent him a picture of mine and within an hour he had located a third match in the OHNS archives (right). After discussing a nickname for this carver, we decided on "Hy Ear" after the way the ear on each specimen sits up over the brim of the hat.

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

The carving characteristics for "Hy Ear" are as follows:

  1. A derby with a rather tall crown, a short, raised brim and plain, wide band. The hat is tilted upward on the head.
  2. Carved hair and short cropped moustache and beard. The jaw line is defined.
  3. The eyebrows are finely detailed on two examples.
  4. A boldly outlined ear with nicely engraved inner detail.
  5. Varying degrees of enhancement to the eye.
  6. The nose is slightly modified.
  7. Double collar. The outline of the lower collar is intermittent.
  8. The fields are cleanly dressed with LIBERTY still visible. The date has been removed on all examples.
  9. The workmanship on these three carvings is above average in quality.