Introducing The Matchmaker

By Chris Dempsey LM64

Finding two unknown carvings by the same carver at one time is extremely unusual. Finding three by the same carver at one time, well, that is practically unheard of. With that in mind, you can understand my amazement when I purchased all five of these carvings at one time from a prominent California dealer at the Baltimore 2014 show. The group consisted of two reverse carvings, two obverse carvings, and one, holed, double-sided carving.

If I had purchased the two reverse carvings and the two obverse carvings alone, I would never have made the connection that they were by the same carver. However, the double sided carving links them together, literally allowing them to be matched as one carver. For this reason, I decided to call this carver "The Matchmaker."

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The carving characteristics for "The Matchmaker" are as follows:

  1. Spear shaped collar.
  2. "C" shaped slanted ear with a hollow center.
  3. Beard appears to be knife cut, which gives it a very rough look.
  4. Profile is highly re-carved in front of the eye.
  5. Eyelids are carved over the eye.
  6. Thin brim with a plain hatband.
  7. Mouth is re-cut to show expression.
  8. Size and shape of the head varies.

  1. Buffalo transformed into a hobo with a walking stick.
  2. Hobo carved with a large humpback.
  3. Two circular punches were used to created buttons on the coat.
  4. Traditional derby that may include a plain hatband.
  5. Roughly cut beard.
  6. Head of buffalo highly stylized with re-cut eye and mouth.
  7. Plain jacket and pants.
  8. "FIVE CENTS" is sometimes removed.