In 2007 I took up hand engraving. One of the things you pretty much have to do when you engrave is a Hobo Nickel or two.
Hobo Nickels are, well, nickels (generally) that have been recarved. For tons and tons of information on them visit The Original Hobo Nickel Society homepage (I'm OHNS member #1143).
The basic story is that back around the Great Depression these modified nickels started showing up. The story was that hobos were doing these with their pen knives around the campfire. More likely they were done by professional engravers (although they may well have been out of work). In any case, they made great little trade items.
These days they're still popular trade items - there are multiple assocations of collectors and an eBay search for "Hobo Nickel" will turn up dozens of examples.
So, I'm an engraver and in 2010 I got laid off and started looking for a way to bring in at least a little money. I decided one way to do that would be to start carving Hobo Nickels. I posted on one of the Hand Engraving forums about it and one of the great coin carvers - a man named Bill Jamison who's better known as Billzach - very kindly offered to send me a half-carved coin to show me how it's done. He even said I could complete the coin for sale and keep all of the proceeds.
After the coin arrived I realized it was far too valuable a study piece to carve at my current level. Someday, perhaps, I'll finish the coin but for now it's my study piece and good luck token. The first real hobo nickel I did was a copy of the Billzach coin, completed. Every 10th coin or so I go back to it as a check on my progress.
If you're interested in any of the available nickels, or in commissioning a nickel, email me - afab AT svandyke DOT com
And I'm back. Life intervened for a few years but I'm now back and carving again.
Watch for my coins on eBay - I'm KC-Steve there.
NOTE: To make life easier for anyone following this gallery I'm putting it in reverse chronological order so the newest nickel will be at the top. I've also split the collection into sets of 50. This is the overview / landing page to take you into the set of galleries
My Simple Homepage
The Original Hobo Nickel Society (OHNS)