Introducing Sam Francisco

By Art DelFavero RM552

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For many years we have seen hobo nickels that exhibit the same carving techniques as well as equal finished component qualities. One great example is a highly prolific carver loosely named “The Missing Link.” Mostly known for his Neanderthal appearing Irishmen carvings, (hence the name,) this artist also created derby style works that feature the exact execution and finished product styles that are evident on the previously mentioned renderings. In the following months I will be properly naming a few of these artists, starting with the “he Missing Link.”

In my research I have viewed about 20 of his carvings, and all nickels used were minted from San Francisco (hence the new name.) “am Francisco's”work is a little choppy but charming just the same. Ranging from below average to just above average his work stands well on its expression, and original carver status.

The characteristics of his carvings are listed as follows:

  1. Rendered on San Francisco issued nickels;
  2. Crescent shaped punched used on hair and beard;
  3. Large raised metal ears heavily peened with a round end punch;
  4. Simple collars formed with 1 or 2 gravers strokes;
  5. Hats with just a brim (sometimes a hash marked band);
  6. Distortion to the nickel, due to heavy pounding;
  7. Choppy finish work on overall piece and
  8. Early dated nickels used.

Many photo examples exist in your O.H.N.S. literature, website, and book!!!