US Hobo Nickel  1920 to Date
US Hobo Nickel 1920 to Date

It sounds like you have a wonderful piece of Americana, chefkath. It is probably a hobo nickel from days of the great depression and thereafter. During that time, several 'Kings of the Road' hobos would spend hours carving standard buffalo nickels into miniture pieces of folk art. They would then trade their masterpieces for a hot meal or warm bed.

The samples in our picture are typical, but certainly not constraining. The artwork is limited, as always, only by the imagination and skill of the artist.

Original hobo nickels (that is, coins genuinely carved by genuine hobos) carry excellent numismatic (coin collector) value today. Retail prices from a few 10s of US dollars to several 100s of dollars are common. The value depends on the quality of the work and the specific artist involved.

There are several modern carvers, but they do not qualify for lofty 'original hobo' status. The coin on the left, with the female figure, would probably sell for about $500. On the right, with a more common baseball cap theme, would probably sell for about $200.

The real problem is discerning genuine original hobo nickels from the myriad of modern carvings. Several modern artists create carving that look old. Seek out a professional coin dealer or a knowledgeable collector for an in-person inspection of your hobo nickel.

David Abernathy was kind enough to send us pictures of his extensive collection of original hobo nickels. David has about 50 coins in his collection. Below you can see a few nice examples. Aren't they terrific? They are all originals and would probably sell at auction for $100 to $300.

hobo nickel

Coin: 8453 , Genre: United States
Requested by: chefkath, Wed, 24-Aug-2011 14:05:05 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Fri, 20-Sep-2013 15:02:51 GMT
Last review by CoinQuest: Wed, 03-Jun-2015 00:10:32 GMT
Requester description: I do not see the nickels I have in the on-line cataolog One side has a buffalo with five cents on it. Th other has the head of a capped man with a beard (almost like a fisherman or earlly military) with faint word of Liberty
Tags: hobo nickel nickels nickle nichel nikel line one buffalo five cents cent th head man beard fisherman military liberty lined lines lining bar bars ones peny pennys pennies penny male mens mans tee goty goatee gotee whiskers beared bearded whisker beareded wiskers fisher fisheries fishery fishing cap hat helmeted hood caps headband hooded helmet bonnet helmit helmets headdress tramp


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