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Quality Designation Service
OHNS provides a Quality Designation service to collectors.
Hobo nickels and other related altered/carved coins (but not love tokens) may be submitted for examination by two OHNS examiners. This service is less costly for OHNS members.
Please read the QD Form, fill it out, and submit it with the coin(s) you send for examination.
Every coin consigned to the annual OHNS hobo nickel auction MUST be accompanied by a Quality Designation Report Form (or a previously obtained Registration Form.)
Click here for a printable "Quality Designation Form"
Quality Designation Terminology
“Hobo Nickel GuideBook”   −by Stephen P. Alpert
   Superior: A top-quality work of art by a very talented hobo nickel artist. There may be beautiful fine detailing, boldly altered features, unusual subjects depicted, pushed and raised metal techniques to enchance the relief (of hat brim, ear, nostril, etc.), messages engraved, etc., all masterfully done. They generally have nice eye appeal.
   Above Average: A very nicely done hobo nickel by a talented artist. Finely carved details, a nice ear, an altered profile, delicate detailing, and a nicely dressed field are features commonly found on Above Average hobo nickels. The hair may be nicely punched or carved, usually with a realistic texture. Accessories may be present such as a pipe or cigar, eyeglasses, an altered or enchance date, and wording in the field. Usually there are several, sometimes minor; features that prevent a high-end Above Average piece from being of Superior quality: some part of the design may be a bit sloppy; the Indian's hair design may be left unaltered on the dome of the hat; traces of the braid or feathers may still be visible; etc.
   Average: A hobo nickel made by an artist with enough talent to create a nicely altered coin. Finer details may appear in the hat and collar(s), such as shading. Usually the feathers and braid are removed and these areas are decently dressed. An ear is usually present, and there may be some profile alteration.
   Below Average: A decently-made hobo nickel, done by an artist with some limited talent. The workmanship is somewhat sloppy, and may be crude in places. A variety of tools and techniques were usually employed to form the various features that may appear on Below Average hobo nickels: hat details (brim, band), punched or carved hair and beard, an ear, collar, altered nose, etc. Usually there is an attempt at removing the feathers and braid and dressing those areas. Extending the hair down the braid is an awkward shortcut that mainly appears on Below Average to Average hobo nickels.
   Crude: A poorly-made hobo nickel. Usually made by someone with very little or no artistic talent, who probably wanted to get into the action of creating hobo nickels upon seeing how well the better makers were doing. Crude quality hobo nickels often consist of just punches or scratches that outline a hat and form a beard. A single punch (forming a dot or dash) may be used repeatedly to create the design. Probably a nail or screwdriver, and a hammer, were the tools used. Other pieces may have rough scratches or chisel marks, or poor attempts at carving. The features are roughly formed, and usually there was no attempt to remove the feathers and hair braid, or dress the field. Alterations such as adding an ear or changing the profile generally were not attempted, as they require artistic talent beyond the limited abilities of the makers of crude hobo nickels.
Webpage last updated:   Thursday, October 30, 2008
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