Introducing Shifty

By Chris Dempsey LM64

After purchasing the first coin shown here from a dealer in New York, I found the third coin, which was sold in the 2012 OHNS auction, lot 56. At first, I thought these two carvings were likely by the same carver, but they didn’t match exactly; the collar was a little different, and the ear was similar, but a little different. With that bit of research done, I archived the photos for potential later use.

One day, while looking through the old auction records, I came across lot 25 from the 2001 OHNS auction. Still, I wasn't sure this was a match since the photo was of such poor quality. I asked fellow OHNS member and archivist Art DelFavero if he could provide me with a better photo of this coin based on its quality designation number.

After Art sent me the photo, this match became much more interesting to me. While the first and the third carvings did not match entirely, the second carving matched both! The second carving was the transition coin between the coins I had already located; it had the collar from the third coin, and the ear from the first coin. All the other attributes were the same. I chose the name "Shifty" because this carver changed his carving attributes slightly on all three known examples.

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

The carving characteristics for "Shifty" are listed as follows:

  1. Simple derby that has a straight bottomed, curve topped brim.
  2. Straight hatband detail is comprised of vertical, parallel cuts.
  3. Simple curved small ear varies in size and overlaps over the brim.
  4. Basic collar varies in style and design.
  5. Hair, eyebrow, and bearding crafted with short, quick, shallow knife cuts.
  6. Field smoothly dressed at left.
  7. Date and LIBERTY left mostly intact.