Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Hobo Nickels

In the thirties, when money was tight, says engraver Sam Alfono, one of the more unusual and creative ways for an homeless person, or hobo, as they were called, to make cash, was by carving so called "hobo nickels".

The coin of choice, used as a starting point for the work, was the U.S. Buffalo nickel - introduced in 1913 and well-suited to the art, as there was lots of metal to work with and around. Alfono, an active practioner of the art form, has many examples of his own works in the medium on his website, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to make them yourself, if you're so inclined.

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