Re: A Hundred Years Ago & Right Now 10/25/19
posted by Dave L.
That's a fun article to read, but it repeats the myth that these altered nickels were made by actual hobos during the 1930s to trade for meals or a bed. A few were, certainly, but most so-called Hobo Nickels were produced by individuals who were quite stationary and just had time on their hands.
The originals are found on nickels dated 1913-19 that were either unworn or just slightly worn when they were transformed. Most of the ones found today are on much more common nickels of the 1930s that were already quite worn, meaning that they'd circulated 20-30 years after that period before being engraved.
Most of the ones illustrated in the article are modern works, as this form of folk art has been more popular to create during the past 30 years or so than it ever was when the coins were still circulating. The ones at lower left and lower right are period pieces of a style common to the 1930s-50s.