The Indian Head 5-cent piece by James Earle Fraser was introduced in 1913 and was circulated till 1938. Unlike other U.S. coins, these coins were modified to create amazing folk art. Some of these interesting “hobo nickels” were offered by Kagin’s Auctions on 15th September at the West Coast Auction.
A Dapper Gentleman on an un-dated Indian Head, Bison on Plains 5-cent piece was sold for $705. Many carvers of hobo nickels are unknown even today. Classic hobo nickels are the ones that were produced before 1980.
The coins were punched, carved and engraved to create unique designs. The offered coin was of “Superior” quality and featured a dapper gentleman with a raised brim on the hat and a uniquely carved ear. The smooth fields created a cameo effect.
More and more coin enthusiasts are looking for characteristics like the ears and works of unknown carver called “Peanut Ear”. Many of these hobo nickels are grouped based on similarities in designs.