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Hobo Nickel by Howard Thomas - Having a Ball
Hobo Nickels. The hobo nickel is a sculptural art form involving the creative modification of small-denomination coins, essentially resulting in miniature bas reliefs. The term hobo nickel is generic, as carvings have been made from many different denominations. Due to its low cost and portability, this medium was particularly popular among hobos, hence the name.
"Hobo Nickel": Although the history of carving miniature bas relief sculptures into coins stretches back to the 18th century if not earlier, it was greatly popularized in the early 20th century with the introduction of the Buffalo nickel. This particular coin was minted using soft metal and was imprinted with the portrait of an indian with bold features, making it easier to deface and transform into the portraits of other people, animals, or even scenery.