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Introducing “Smiley”     −by Stephen Alpert LM10 with Arturo DelFavero RM552
{ from  Summer 2009 BoTales }
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   I obtained my carving by “Smiley” at the 2004 F.U.N. show, where I paid $100 for it from an exonumia dealer. I illustrated the nickel on page 12 of the Fall 2004 BoTales (Volume 13, Issue No. 3), the novelty of it being the double-carved hat band and brim. The artist, who we are nicknaming “Smiley,” started carving the hat brim and band at far too shallow an angle; he then engraved them at a correct angle.
   Recently Art discovered the other three hobo nickels carved by the same artist. One was lot 7 in the 2008 OHNS auction; one sold on eBay and the fourth was a member's hobo nickel submitted for OHNS quality designation in 1998. My specimen has a radially chisel-carved field, which the other three don't. But all four share the diagnostic features described below.
   The carving characteristics for “Smiley” are listed as follows:
    1) Altered profile with a strong chin and enhanced nostril.
    2) A smile added to the mouth.
    3) A distinctive hat, with a finely-lined dome, bow on the hat band, and a straight hat brim with stubby ends.
    4) A double collar, with the braid still visible.
    5) A stickpin jewel at the front of the collar below the chin.
    6) A small engraved ear.
    7) The date is obliterated.
Introducing “'V'Neck”     −by Fred Avan RM908 with Arturo DelFavero RM552
{ from  Summer 2009 BoTales }
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   I purchased the first example of the carver we're naming “'V'Neck” in an eBay auction in early February of this year. A week later I found a match to my acquisition on page 40 of the Hobo Nickel Guidebook by Stephen Alpert. This second example is a two-sided carving but the obverse demonstrates the same diagnostic characteristics as the example I obtained on eBay.
   No sooner had I found the matching carving in the Hobo Nickel Guidebook, when Art DelFavero, who had seen a photo of the nickel posted on the OHNS website, contacted me that he had found a third carving specimen in the OHNS authentication archives. That nickel is the 1926 dated nickel shown below and was submitted by an OHNS member for quality designation in 2003.
   The carving characteristics for “'V'Neck” are listed as follows:
    1) A high crowned derby setting low on head with curved brim and hatband with rectangular bow and vertical lines.
    2) Derby's brim touches back of shirt collar.
    3) Carved hair with thin extension from beard to forehead below hat brim.
    4) Detailed ear.
    5) Punched beard.
    6) Point graver mustache.
    7) Date and LIBERTY remain.
    8) Finely lined tall shirt collar with fancy front.
    9) Wedged jacket collar.
   10) Enlarged nostril and notched nose.
Introducing “Twofer”     −by Ralph Winter LM37 with Arturo DelFavero RM552
{ from  Summer 2009 BoTales }
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   Late in December of 2008 I was very fortunate to win a beautiful two-sided 1913 dated hobo nickel in an eBay auction. When I traveled to this year's F.U.N. Show, I took this nickel along to show to some of my OHNS friends. On Friday of the F.U.N. Show I was sitting at the OHNS table when the second example shown below was handed to me, and the other OHNS board members seated at the bourse table, to inspect. I was shocked to see that this particular, also two-sided, nickel appeared to be executed by the same carver as my hobo nickel. Steve Alpert examined both nickels and concurred. Additionally, the individual, who presented the nickel to OHNS for inspection, decided to consign it to the 2010 OHNS F.U.N. Show auction.
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   When I got home from this year's F.U.N. show, I found a third example of a work by this carver, we have nicknamed “Twofer.” It's found on page 83 of The Hobo Nickel by Joyce Ann Romines. This same nickel was also Lot 19 in OHNS Auction 2. Authenticator Gail (Kraljevich) Baker believed, as I do, that both sides of the nickel are by the same carver. I have A fourth example appears on page 97 of Tokens and Medals by Stephen P. Alpert and Lawrence E. Elman. A scan of this 1991 example is shown below. Unfortunately, a better photo is not available.
   All the hobo nickels by the artist “Twofer” are double sided renderings. They are carved and punched using gravers (point, round and flat) and beading tools. Raised metal techniques have been utilized, and the fields are clean and smooth. My personal quality assessment of the nickel carvings range from above average to superior.
   The carving characteristics for “Twofer” are listed as follows:
    OBVERSE
    1) Man with beard and moustache.
    2) Nice detailed 3 dimensional hat with curved brim, band and bow.
    3) Very sculpted ears (more complex on example 2).
    4) Nice elaborate collars.
    5) Slight alterations to profile nostril enlarged.
    6) Liberty and date remain intact.
    7) Executed on early date nickels.
    REVERSE
    1) All are 3/4 body length carvings.
    2) Man with beard and moustache.
    3) Man wears a hat or turban.
    4) Man carries a bindle or receptacle on his back.
    5) Man wears coat with buttons.
    6) Man has arms and hands outstretched.
    7) Subject appears to be blind or finding his way in the dark (one with cane).
    8) Five Cents, United States of America, and E Pluribus Unum remain intact.