Introducing The Rabbi

By Marc Banks RM538

In 2010, I tried unsuccessfully to win a classic carving of a Rabbi (photo on left) which was offered in a small auction. The carving sold for $253. A short time later I found a match (middle photo) to the carving while looking through the 2001 OHNS auction results in Steve Alpert's Hobo Nickel Guidebook. It sold for $160. These two specimens appeared in BoTales Volume 20 Issue No. 2 (Summer 2011) "Three's A Match." In 2011, a third example (photo on right) sold on eBay for $513. Unfortunately for me, I was the under bidder to OHNS member Chris Dempsey (LM64). I am nicknaming this carver simply "The Rabbi."

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

  1. A Yarmulke with a seam along the middle and a sewn and/or decorative design along edge.
  2. The hair, beard, eyebrow and peyot (braid) are all carved.
  3. The beard extends forward beyond the chin.
  4. The nose has several wrinkles across the bridge.
  5. The eye is punched and has an outline around it.
  6. The mouth is slightly open at the corner.
  7. The fields behind the head are cleanly dressed and LIBERTY is left intact.
  8. There is no collar.
  9. All three specimens are on early date nickels (1913 and 1914).