Introducing The Flapper

By Nick Pyle LM69

Hobo nickels are very intriguing to me. My wife got us started three years ago with interest and the purchase of a Ray Castro reverse dog carving that resembles our Weimaraner “Willow.” We continue to hunt for carved coins regularly and in our frequent travels we seek out coin shops all over in search of hobo nickels and Love tokens − what we consider Americana folk art.

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

The first of the three nickels shown below came to my attention in February of this year in an eBay auction which I was fortunate enough to win for $377.12 including shipping. Shortly after the auction closed, Verne Walrafen called me and alerted me to the existence of a second example by this same (as yet unnamed) carver. That coin is the second one shown below and was Lot 7 in OHNS Auction 13 in January 2005. This carving was deemed Average/Average(H) and executed on an XF 1913 Type 1 Buffalo nickel. This coin sold to a mail bidder for $143. Art DelFavero later located the third example shown below in the OHNS QD archives. Member Jim Nye, RM382, submitted this example for authentication in 1997. It's an Average(H) example executed on a 1913 Type 2 Buffalo nickel. Jim shared that it was one of 21 hobo nickels he purchased from a Mr. R. Hapner at the January 1997 F.U.N. Show. Mr. Hapner was a onetime coin dealer who lived in Florida. I want to thank Verne and Art for helping me to come up with the nickname of “The Flapper”.

The Carving Characteristics for “The Flapper“ are listed as follows:

  1. A nicely made high collar with a large "flap" towards the front.
  2. All work done on 1913 dated host coins (thus far).
  3. A well made ear that overlaps the hat brim.
  4. Nicely shaped Derby hat with band (feather remains at the back on two specimens).
  5. Coarsely punched hair, beard, and moustache (appears like pock marks).
  6. Date and LIBERTY remain intact.
  7. Minor changes to the profile.
  8. Fields nicely dressed.