US Coins

Lincoln Columbian Expo medal

A bronze Abraham Lincoln World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 medal, left, was engraved by Henry H. Zearing. The engraver of the Hobo nickel, above, is unidentified.

Lincoln image courtesy of Roy Burlington and Hobo nickel image courtesy Dominick Scali.

I have an Abraham Lincoln Medal graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. that is attributed to 1893 as “E-85A” and from the World’s Columbian Exposition.

I have found very little information on this medal but recently found the exact medal advertised in an auction as “King-504 AL, Abraham Lincoln.”

This is confusing. Do you have a resource that would properly identify this item? I would appreciate any help you might offer in this matter.

Roy Burlington

Mount Pleasant, Mich.

What the reader has is a bronze Abraham Lincoln medal from 1893. It is one of many medals, tokens and numismatic collectibles created for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago.

On the obverse, shown, the name “Zearing” appears to the left of the portrait. This is the name of the engraver, Henry H. Zearing.

The advertised item mentioned has the same design but a different metallic composition, aluminum. A similar piece was auctioned Oct. 7 by Teletrade Inc. of Irvine, Calif.

This piece has two catalog numbers. The King reference relates to the numbering system used in the book Lincoln in Numismatics by Robert P. King. This design is King 504. The E-85A catalog number is from Columbiana, by Nathan Eglit.

This medal is known with compositions of silver, bronze, gilt, copper, brass, aluminum and white metal.

I was searching through rolls of nickels when I came across an odd-looking piece.

I have seen pictures of these before but never actually held one in my hand.

It appears to be a Hobo nickel and I was wondering how I would go about finding out when it was made and who the artist might be?

Dominick Scali

Old Bridge, N.J.

Yes, it does appear that Scali has a Hobo nickel based on the photographs sent. A Hobo nickel is basically a modified coin and most are carved examples of Indian Head 5-cent coins.

An artist, whose identity we were unable to determine for this example, will make the obverse design different by carving it out. A bearded man with a derby hat, as is shown on this coin, is typical of a carved out design.

This example has the 1936 year date and a small “F” below it from the original design of the coin. That “F” stands for the coin’s designer, James Earle Fraser.

For more information on the Original Hobo Nickel Society, visit the organization’s website at

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