Introducing Listener

By Marc Banks RM538, Arturo DelFavero RM552

Classic hobo nickels on late date Buffalo Nickels seem to be somewhat elusive. Example 1 below is one such carving I won in OHNS Auction #21. Although it had a distinctive raised ear bent over by the hat brim, it was a number of years before OHNS Archivist Art DelFavero acquired a match (2) to my nickel. Earlier this year a carving (3) was submitted for a Quality Designation. It was clearly the work of the same unknown carver, sharing all the major diagnostic markers of the other two carvings. We are nicknaming this talented carver "Listener" as his characters all have an attentive look and their ears seem to be well-suited for listening.

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The carving characteristics for "Listener" are as follows:

  1. All examples to date have raised ears that are bent over by the brim of the hat; the center of the ear is punched.
  2. Domed hat is well-dressed with straight or slightly curved brims, a plain band with a bow positioned above the ear. The hat sits low on the forehead. The front brim points between the B and E of LIBERTY on all three examples.
  3. Engraved hair, moustache and beard. A key diagnostic is the unshaven neck.
  4. There is little or no modification to the profile, the eye is unaltered.
  5. The thickness of the neck is reduced on Examples 2 and 3.
  6. The collars taper downward towards the front to varying degrees.
  7. Fields cleanly dressed. LIBERTY left intact; and.
  8. Carvings done on late date Buffalo Nickels.