Introducing The Shark

By Marc Banks RM538

Early in 2011 three Ball Family Heirloom carvings appeared on the OHNS website (Dossier #51). One of these carvings of a bearded man with a domed hat had a distinctive forward pointed feather near the rear of the hat (left). A short time later I purchased a carving (middle) for $155 that shared a number of similarities including the telltale feather to the Ball specimen. Both were clearly the works of the same unknown carver. Before the year was over the third match appeared. OHNS member Chris Dempsey (LM47) won a holed example (right) for $358 with a chain-linked key fob on eBay with characteristics consistent the other two carvings. I have named this carver "The Shark" based on the shape of the feather which resembles a shark's dorsal fin.

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

  1. A domed hat with a narrow brim pointed at both ends.
  2. A hat band with vertical accent lines (on two specimens, missing or worn off on the third example).
  3. A forward pointed feather near the rear of the hat band.
  4. Carved ear varies from specimen to specimen.
  5. Punched hair, eyebrow, moustache and beard.
  6. A punch mark separates the moustache from the beard.
  7. Altered nose and nostril.
  8. All three examples have a punched dimple behind the nostril.
  9. A punched eye with a punched pupil.
  10. A jacket with a single collar and double-breasted front.
  11. A rounded shoulder around the date (date missing on third example).
  12. Fields are dressed, but somewhat rough.
  13. The examples with dates are done on early dated nickels.