Hobo Nickel

January 15, 2009

The hobo nickel is generally speaking an altercation of an original small denomination coinage (often the nickel); often considered a work of art.  The nickel is often chosen by sculptors because of it thickness, softness, and size; making it easier than other coins to re-sculpt (although the term can refer to any coin that has been re-sculpted).  The reason these altercations are often referred to as “Hobo” coins is because originally it was only these smaller denominations and portability; hence the connection to “hobos”.

It is difficult to determine when people started altering coins for their own use; however, many coins can be traced back to at least the 1850’s.  However, when the Buffalo Nickel was released in 1913 it became very popular among coin engravers and other amateurs to alter the look of these coins.  These coins were probably popular to re-sculpt because  the design made it easier to re sculpt.

Many well known coin engravers worked on carving Hobo Nickels from the 1920s all the way until the 1970s.  Since the Buffalo Nickel was phased out in 1938; many hobo nickel carvers stopped working on the Buffalo Nickel after that time, and adopted the new design of the nickel.

Although, most of the classic Hobo nickel carvers are gone now; their work remains.  As well, there are many modern hobo nickel carvers that do great work on new coinage.  These coins are all extremely collectible, and many are considered great works of art.

Learn more at: The Hobo Nickel Society

Category: Hobo Nickel