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Introducing “Peerless”     −by Verne “V-Dubya” Walrafen HLM620
{ from  Spring 2012 BoTales }
   Ever since September 2007, when I was outbid at $336 and thus failed to acquire the first carving shown here in a Heritage auction, I have been watching for another specimen done with such an elegant, peerless chapeau. Then on my birthday in October of 2011 I finally captured the second carving shown below, for $240 in an eBay auction, which was clearly done by the same carver − totally different facial hair but the same wonderfully detailed derby and suit coat!
   Subsequent searching by our diligent OHNS Archivist Art DelFavero turned up the third carving shown below as having been offered in an early 2008 eBay auction but never sold. The photo is not the best but adequate to ascertain that it is in fact a third unique example by the same carver.
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
   The Carving Characteristics for “Peerless” are listed as follows:
    1) Deeply sculpted hat with strongly textured crown and vertical lines in hatband.
    2) Distinctive double collar with upside down “V” pointed ends.
    3) Suit fabric textured.
    4) Beard, hair and mustache punched.
    5) Well placed strongly engraved ears of different styles.
    6) Field dressed with LIBERTY and date remaining.
    7) All carvings are on 1913 type 2 Philadelphia host coins.
    8) Minor alterations to profile.
Introducing “Scraggly”     −by Fred “Guido” Avan RM908
{ from  Spring 2012 BoTales }
   In February of 2011 I picked up average rendering on eBay for the fair price of $88. During the auction I had worried if someone had noticed that there was a match on page 15 in Steve Alpert's book. To my surprise it seems no one did, and I ended up walking away a happy collector.
   That got me really excited and subsequent additional searching turned up the third carving shown below in the 2005 OHNS Auction Catalog #13. It was lot number 116 which sold for a total of $275.
   Finally the first carving closed on eBay and I won it for what I considered a bargain price of $140.
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
   The Carving Characteristics for “Scraggly” are listed as follows:
    1) Scraggly beard extends out into field.
    2) Hair, eyebrows, and beard are carved.
    3) Derby hat has straight thin brim with hatband and fancy bow with horizontal and vertical lines.
    4) A small but very distinctive ear.
    5) All carvings are on early date coins.
    6) Field dressed with LIBERTY and date remaining.
    7) No collar.
    8) Profile unaltered.
Introducing “Mason City”   −by Fred “Guido” Avan RM908, Tony Lewis RM1201 and Don Wolfe RM981
{ from  Spring 2012 BoTales }
   While looking at Hobo Nickels on eBay, I noticed that the nickel carver Tony Lewis had listed a classic carving on a 1915 host nickel. I put it in my eBay watch list with a small bid in on it. As luck would have it, Don Wolfe won it, the first carving shown here, for $105.
   In the eBay listing, Tony mentioned that he would be listing more classic carvings later that looked like they were done by the same carver. I contacted him and asked if I could get pictures of the other carvings that were going up for auction.
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.
   He informed me that he had purchased one carved on a 1936 host nickel and that the other two were going to be kept by Lisa Warren, the owner of the nickels. She inherited them after her father passed away in July of 2011. She told Tony that her father had lived in Mason City, Iowa until the late 50's. Mason City is located 30 miles east of Britt where the hobos hold their convention every year.
   Tony sent a picture of his specimen and it was definitely carved by the same carver. After a brief negotiation, he agreed to sell me the second carving shown here for $80.
   After receiving the carving, I contacted Tony again and mentioned the “Three's A Match” column published in BoTales by OHNS. He said he had tried matching them with our published nicknamed carvers, not even thinking about “Three's A Match.”
   I asked if he would mention this to his friend Lisa, which he did and he replied that she was very excited. Lisa provided the photos of the third and fourth carvings shown here. Tony did manage to get Lisa to sell him the third carving done on a 1929-S host nickel. Lisa has since sold the fourth carving, done on a 1935 host nickel, to another collector. There was some disagreement whether “Mason City” was a classic carver or might be modern. All four examples were reviewed by five different authenticators at the 2012 FUN show and the majority deemed “Mason City” to be a classic hobo carver.
   The Carving Characteristics for “Mason City” are listed as follows:
    1) Total punched and hammered hair, beard and mustache.
    2) Oval shaped ear with very deep depressed center.
    3) Beard and mustache punched to form a frown.
    4) Straight thick hat brim that gives the appearance of being rolled.
    5) Hat band with fancy centered bow.
    6) Field roughly dressed with date left on, but LIBERTY may or may not be left on.
    7) Distinctive collar that has three bands (horizontal lines) that blend into the shoulder.
    8) Profile unaltered.