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Introducing Money Man


By Stephen Alpert LM10 with Mike Bannon RM413

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The Spring 2009 issue of BoTales pictured two of my hobo nickels in the “Three's A Match” feature. Art DelFavero found a third matching hobo nickel while searching through the OHNS archive copies of Quality Designation forms. It is the 1913S Type II nickel, owned by member Michael Brannon of California (who purchased it about ten years ago at a coin shop in southern California, for $250). My two specimens are on 1914 nickels. The one with the flatter-topped hat (and hair not touching the back of the neck) I bought in 1999 for $125 from an eBay seller from Sacramento, California (not an auction). The other nickel (circular hat dome and more-worn date) was part of a collection of hobo nickels (mostly modern) I purchased in early 2008 from a southern California collector. So, all three pieces were acquired in California.

The unique feature of all three carvings is the dollar sign before the date, making the date look like a dollar amount. So I am nicknaming this old carver “Money Man.” All three share the diagnostic features described below.

The carving characteristics for “Money Man” are listed as follows:

  1. A dollar sign ($) to the left of the date.
  2. The derby has a small dome with accent lines.
  3. The hat brim has wrap-around ends that are lobe-like (or pod-, tongue-, or finger-like).
  4. The hat band has a bowtie above the ear that extends up above the band.
  5. The ear is small.
  6. Well-groomed carved hair, mustache, and small pointy beard.
  7. Smoothly-dressed field, with Liberty removed.
  8. The collar is checkered at the bottom, with a flap or flaps at the front.
  9. A stickpin is at the front of the collar.
  10. A slight Adams apple bulge on the neck.
  11. The profile may be altered at the top of the nose.
  12. On early date nickels.