Introducing Notch Nose

By Marc Banks RM538, Art DelFavero RM522, Fred Avan RM908

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

Two long lost brothers were united at the 2010 Fun Show after nearly a century! Both Art DelFavero and Marc Banks brought examples of carvings by an unknown artist now nicknamed “Notch Nose” after the pronounced notch/broken nose displayed on his art work. The nickels are similar in nearly every detail. Presuming that this carver carved created these pieces in the early 1910's and they were separated shortly thereafter, it may be close to 100 years since the two carvings appeared in the same place together. Perhaps more of the family will be reunited in the future.

A couple of days after the inspiring 2010 F.U.N. show, both Marc Banks and Art DelFavero were contacted by an excited Fred Avan. He told them that he had been doing some research on matching artist nickels that they both owned, and that he had good news. Fred had ventured to the “Recent Sales of Nickel Carvings,” an on-line listing of eBay and private sales from 2001-2005, and found a 1913 host coin carving matching Marc's 1915, and Art's 1913. Of course this was not only good news, it was also a hobo nickel history making find.

Listed on the “Recent Sales” link dated 6/02/2002 is a carving titled “Gables Nickel” which was purchased by an unknown owner for $86.27. Said rendering matches a nickel purchased by Marc Banks on 7/13/2009 for $190.27 and a nickel obtained by Art DelFavero on 10/18/2009, for the price of $243, making the average price of these nickels $173.18. These incredible classic pieces depict a bearded man with a broken nose wearing a derby hat.

The carving Characteristics for “Notch Nose” are listed as follows:

  1. Early date host coins.
  2. High dome derby hat with a curved narrow brim.
  3. Wide hatband with “>” ornament and three vertical lines.
  4. Punched eye.
  5. Notched nose with a bump.
  6. Narrow oblong ear.
  7. Enhanced nostril.
  8. Punched eyebrow, hair, beard, and moustache.
  9. Beard extends to edge of coin.
  10. Engraved line collar with minor differences.
  11. Nice clean field with Liberty and date remaining intact.
  12. A mixture of engraved and punched features.