Introducing Long Tie

By Marc Banks, RM538

I purchased the first (1) of the three classic carvings pictured above from a Connecticut dealer in 2010. It was the work of a skilled, unknown carver who created a well-dressed character with a closely cropped beard wearing a fancy three-dimensional hat, a shirt and tie and a jacket with a lapel. A second carving (2) with all the same adornments and clearly by the same carver was purchased from a collector two years later at the FUN Show in Florida. Although I assumed talented artist had surely carved more than two hobo nickels, it wasn't until earlier this year (2015) that a third match appeared. Bo Tales editor Ralph Winter sent me pictures of a half-dozen carvings from his collection. Among these was the carving (3) I had been waiting for. It also shared the major characteristics of the other two specimens. I am nicknaming the carver of these hobo nickels "Long Tie" as this telltale accessory is used on all three works

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

The carving characteristics for "Long Tie" are as follows:

  1. A domed hat with a three dimensional brim folded up on the side and a band decorated with vertical lines. A bow was added to example 3.
  2. To date carvings by this artist depict a well-dressed man wearing a long tie that fans out to the rim of the nickel.
  3. Hair, moustache and closely cropped beard are composed of small circular marks created with a fine beading tool on examples 1 and 2. Fine cut lines are used for the hair on example 3. Example 1 has an eyebrow created in a similar manner.
  4. A kidney shaped ear is nicely defined with a wide outer rim and inner details.
  5. The Indian's profile has been modified to varying degrees.
  6. Nice depth to the shirt and jacket collar (with a lapel).
  7. Details on specimens 1 and 3 have been darkened adding nice contrast to the carvings.
  8. The fields are nicely dressed. A continuous arc has been created between the rear hat brim and the back of the shoulder on all three specimens. Liberty has been removed on 2 and 3.
  9. The dates have been removed.