Introducing Snidely

By Marc Banks RM538

Over the years I have seen a number of Trench Art carvings of Prussian soldiers, done by various unknown carvers on Indian Head/Buffalo Nickels. This past year I won one such carving on eBay (left). This rendition of a military man with a parade helmet differs from others in that the moustache is out of perspective. The left side of the moustache is carved into the field when it should be hidden since the carving is a profile. I remembered seeing another nickel carved in this manner previously and after a brief search I located the carving in the 2006 Heritage Signature Auction Catalog (middle- page 8 #188). A little more searching in the OHNS web site archives and a third example was located (right- page 23 May 1, 2009). I have named the carver of these three Kaisers "Snidely" after the character Snidely Whiplash with his trademark handlebar moustache in the Dudley Do-Right cartoons on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show of the 1960's. I would grade the quality of these carvings Above Average.

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

  1. Parade helmets with a spike at the top, down-turned brims which curve up around the ear, a braid above the front brim and a decoration at the front on two specimens may be intended to be the wing of an eagle.
  2. The eyebrow sits just below or meets the helmet brim.
  3. A small punched ear with a outlined outer rim.
  4. Carved/punched hair that surrounds the ear.
  5. Minor alteration to nose (straightened).
  6. An up-turned handlebar moustache formed with long carved lines.

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The following carvings were originally identified and nicknamed as a new carver named "Deliberator." It was later determined that carvings by "Deliberator" were actually carved by already existing carver "Snidely," and as such, "Deliberator" was removed as a standalone carver. The following photos are additional carvings by "Snidely." It should be noted that other subsequent themes were probably carved by this carver, which may or may not match exactly the carvings shown in this writeup.

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