Introducing Mug Mouth

By Arturo DelFavero RM552, Fred Avan RM908

Back in 2002 I purchased a hobo nickel on eBay, and it immediately became one of my favorite early original carvings. This classic era artist had some really good skills when it came to sculpting and engraving which showed in his distinct finished product. One thing I always noticed about his work was the outlined mouth surrounded by razor stubble. This feature fit in with my idea of the classic 1920s-1940s mug looking face. Two years ago fellow member and collector Fred Avan was able to snap up a match on eBay. In March of 2018 I found another match at a coin show in Dearborn Michigan, and this third example set up the road to nicknaming. I toyed around with names like "Lip Liner," "Island Ear," "The Mug," and "Mr. Serious," which was Fred's suggestion. In the end I kept coming back to that classic mouth feature, and decided on the name "Mug Mouth."

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The carving characteristics for "Mug Mouth" are as follows:

  1. An altered outlined mouth surrounded by facial hair.
  2. Nicely domed derby hat with band & pointed end brim that cuts through E in LIBERTY (Fred's example has bow).
  3. Alteration to the nose and overall profile.
  4. Ears that have no hair around them creating an island effect.
  5. Head and facial hair created with edge of beading tool or small crescent punch.
  6. Slight eyebrow punched in.
  7. A very deep cut in metal under the chin and neckline to create a 3D collar.
  8. Linier engraving to create a long lapel and shoulder area.
  9. Dates removed with LIBERTY and partials remaining.
  10. Nice clean, deep, smooth, fields finished with a medium dark toning.