My “RealHobo Nickels   −by Ralph Winter, OHNS LM-37
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
I
 believe I can speak for most hobo nickel collectors in saying that you appreciate beautifully carved or engraved hobo nickels. Even the purists among you, who may only collect classic carved nickels, appreciate the superior carvings by modern artists. But what about the old crude or simple carvings?
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
I
 think most collectors are aware that not all classic or “original” hobo nickels were carved by hobos. During the 1930's right through the 1950's, there were many people in this country who were skilled engravers working in fields like the metal working industry, at newspapers or in wood working. There were also many jewelers who were skilled engravers. Some of these craftsmen may have been a hobo at some point in their life, but they most likely produced their hobo nickels long after they had left the road/rails.
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
W
e also know that most hobos didn't sit around the campfire carving hobo nickels. Del Romines said that George Washington “Bo” Hughes was carving his nickels in small shed/shop in New Albany, Indiana when Del met him.
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
L
ike most collectors, I love the above average and superior classic hobo nickels. The ones in my collection are some of my most prized. But I also have an appreciation for many simple, below average carvings. I like to think of these nickels as my “Real” Hobo Nickels. I believe many of these could have been carved around the campfire using a knife, a hand made graver or a simple punch or two. I didn't pay much for any one of these nickels. I sometimes think they are some of my best finds.
I
 am sure some of you don抰 have the same appreciation for these simple carved or punched nickels. But I thought I抎 share a few of these finds with the OHNS membership. Not all collectors have the means to afford a “Bert” or “Bo,” a superior classic hobo nickel, or a superior carving by a modern artist. I hope many of you share my love and appreciation for these simple carved and punched and sometimes quite crude nickels.
Click on any photo for an enlargement.
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.

Webpage last updated:   Tuesday, August 1, 2006