Introducing Pencil Neck

By Marc Banks RM538 and Art DelFavero RM552

The Spring 2008 issue of BoTales pictured the first two examples of hobo nickels by a carver I'm calling “Pencil Neck” for the narrow or recessed neck on all of the example nickels. The first example sold on eBay back on March 27, 2003 for $84.83. I purchased the second example more than ten years ago at a coin show in Massachusetts for just $60. The third example was Lot 11 in OHNS Auction 11 and sold for $33 on January 11, 2003. After the first two nickels appeared in the Three's A Match segment in 2008, Art DelFavero found the third example while looking through old OHNS Auction catalogs

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The carving characteristics for “Pencil Neck” are listed as follows:

  1. A high crowned derby setting low on head with curved brim and hatband with rectangular bow-pointed towards the back and with horizontal lines,
  2. Derby's brim reaches all the way back behind the shoulder,
  3. Carved hair with thin extension from beard to forehead below hat brim,
  4. No ear,
  5. Punched beard,
  6. Point graver stubble/mustache,
  7. Liberty has been removed, the date is visible on one example,
  8. Finely lined tall shirt collar with fancy front- 8) & 9) are only on the first example,
  9. Wedged jacket collar and
  10. Enlarged nostril, notched nose and punched eye.