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About the Artist~ Raymond E. Cover, Jr.

   Ray has worked as a professional engraver for several years. He specialized in intricate artistic work on hand made knives and the occasional high quality firearm. Ray has a bachelor's degree in art education and has done graduate work in sculpture at Fontbonne University.

   His interest in carved and engraved coins began when he saw hobo nickels on a web site. He thought they were interesting and wanted to try one but did not have an outlet for them and was very unfamiliar with the carved coin market.

   One of Ray's engraving clients decided he liked the Hobo Nickels as well. He liked them so much that he decided to deal in Hobo Nickels and sell retail. Ray's customer found it quite easy to talk Ray into doing something he'd already had a spark of interest in. So he carved his first nickel in late December 2004 and he was hooked from then on.

About the coins

   Ray signs and puts a serial number on each coin he carves, sculpts, or engraves. Each coin he does artwork on is logged in a journal be serial number, beginning with the number 001. Anyone who acquires one of Ray's coins can authenticate it with the artist's records.

   Each coin is a one of a kind piece of artwork, designed by the artist.

   Ray's primary medium, in the coin area, is Indian Head nickels, as the Hobo Nickel collectors are the prominent group in the carved coin market. However, he's not limiting himself to only nickels. Other coins can be used, as well, depending on what type of “canvas” the artwork demands. The quality of the coins will also be chosen based on the level of artwork to be done. For example, if an extensive two-sided carving is to be done with only date and the “five cents” showing, there is no reason to use a Ms65 un-circulated coin. On the other hand, if a very extensive work of art is to be done on the obverse side of the coin, then it does make sense to use a highly collectible coin in great condition, so the reverse is as pleasant to view. That being said, Ray does strive to use at least VF-AU grade coins for most carvings.

Statement of Philosophy from the Artist

   “I have never been one to hold to tradition for tradition's sake. To worship tradition is to stagnate and hinder progress. I wholeheartedly believe that tradition has a place (and a good place) in life, in culture, and in art. We learn much from the traditions of those who have come before us. Dwelling on tradition as the end, rather than the means, prevents us from learning and advancing beyond what our predecessors have already done.

   I will, from time to time carve traditional themed Hobo Nickels because I do enjoy them. I enjoy both carving them and viewing those carved by others. I definitely see a place for them in my repertoire of art coins.

   I am, however, inspired to take the art of carving and sculpting coins beyond the traditional Hobo Nickel. this is a very enjoyable task for me. It is a hobby I use to relax. It is an opportunity to use the sculpture training I have. The part I enjoy most is the freedom it gives me to totally express myself as an artist, and create works from my own inspiration.

   Please don't misunderstand... I do enjoy the engraving I do for a living. It also provides the ability to be expressive and do inspired works of art (within the client's parameters). I would not trade my engraving career for any other. However, it is a job and has the obligations to clients and the limitations of budget that most jobs have. I don't want the coins to turn into a job. I want to keep them as an exciting hobby that I do for myself. Therefore, I do not plan to take orders for coins. Even fun things can turn into an eight hundred pound Gorilla if enough fodder and pressure are applied. I know my work habits and I know what drives me. I will be a much more prolific carver and will be much more creative if I am able to keep this an a fun pass time.

   I can't keep everything I do, so most of my coins will be offered for sale when I am finished enjoying them. Some, that are special to me, I will keep. But I expect to offer most of them for sale.”

Hobbies and Interests

   Ray enjoys a variety of activities in leisure time. However, most of them involve creating, inventing, fixing, and building. As leisure time becomes less and less, he has to actually schedule some of his favorite outdoor activities, like fly-fishing, camping, and sailing. One of his favorites is fly-fishing for trout, or even salmon.

{ This is an archival copy of the original webpage just in case the owner ever deletes their posting. }