If you have your dues paid up as a member of the Original Hobo
Nickel Society, you can bid in the members-only auction
beginning at 10 a.m. ET Jan. 7 during the Florida United
Numismatists Convention in Fort Lauderdale.
The 96-lot offering is the OHNS’s 25th annual auction held in
conjunction with the FUN convention, where the organization holds its
The annual auction is one of the busiest and best-attended auctions
among specialty collector organizations. The earliest auctions
included original carved Indian Head 5-cent coins that sold for a few
hundred dollars at best, with total proceeds yielding a few thousand dollars.
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In recent years, however, some of those same pieces made during the
1920s through the 1950s by the most prominent and well-known hobo
nickel carvers have individually yielded thousands of dollars.
During the 2013 OHNS auction, a double-sided carved Indian Head
5-cent coin fashioned in the late 1930s by the hands of renowned hobo
George Washington “Bo” Hughes yielded $24,200.
The field of hobo nickels has expanded over the past two decades to
include the works modern artists have executed with their own
techniques as well as those employed by hobo nickel carving pioneers
The Jan. 7, 2017, OHNS auction includes two hobo nickels attributed
to Hughes, one executed before a hand injury and the other, after.
On the pre-injury piece, the Indian Head portrait was transformed
into a long-haired, bearded man on the obverse of the undated Indian
Head, Bison on Plain 5-cent coin. The date 1920 is carved in Roman
numerals below the portait.
The post-injury, circa 1957 Bo work was carved on the obverse of a
1936 Indian Head 5-cent coin, with the Indian's portrait transformed
using a hand-punching tool into a circus clown.