Indian Head 5-cent coins by James Earle Fraser were introduced in 1913 and were circulated till 1938. Unlike other U.S. coins, these coins were modified to create interesting folk art. Some of these “hobo nickels” were offered by Kagin’s Auctions on 15th September at West Coast Auction.
A Standing Hobo carved 1913-D Indian Head, Bison on Mound 5-cent piece was sold for $1,762.50. In most cases, the Native American profile on the obverse is modified. But the bison on the reverse was also transformed by creative artists. The reverse design was carved into animals like turtles, while many others were changed into a standing hobo.
The offered coin was created by an unknown artist who changed the bison on a 1913-D Indian Head into a standing hobo with a backpack, wearing a hat and a beard. The long coat, with pockets, is well designed. The surrounding field has been dressed revealing just the original lettering. Reverse carvings of such high quality are always in demand.