Coins carved to reveal skulls under the faces


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the old hobo nickels were almost always carved by hand and each one was unique. i’m guessing most of the new ones aren’t? i love the skull ones though, i wish all currency had skull people on it.


can anyone tell me what the tool is at the top of this photo?


I’d guess that is a small, air powered percussion chisel. Thus… Looks like a nice one.


It’s the Lindsay Airgraver from and the artist is


wow, they aren’t cheap, and i’m not sure i’d ever make any money at it, but it does seem like a fun hobby. wonder how long the “bits” last. seems like engraving metal would be wear intensive.


boingboing really likes hobo nickels, especially with skulls, though sometimes with aliens:


Carved alien skull seems to be missing in BB’s collection


These are amazing and beautiful. As a kid, I was an active member of my local numismatic society. We constantly had people coming through with hobo nickels for sale and display and I always liked how creative people were with their carvings. Some were really funny.

I had (have?) an impressive coin collection for just a kid. The bulk of whatever money I was able to scrape up from mowing lawns went towards fleshing out my collection, except for a few rare notables that were and still are out of reach. I had near-complete collections of Lincoln cents, Buffalo and Jefferson nickels, Mercury dimes and Washington quarters, with lots of Indian cents, a few coins from the 1800’s, some Morgan dollars, walking Liberties, commemorative coins like for the various olympics, a couple of gold coins, many proof and uncirculated sets and a pound or so of silver bullion coinage. I was about 12 when I stopped being as active. But to have amassed that wealth as a kid, dang. Can’t believe I did that.

I chalk it up to shrewd acquisitions. I had really good mentors at Coin Club. They knew their grades and values cold, and actively steered me towards better purchases and taught me how to negotiate lower prices at coin shows by demonstrating my knowledge of the gray areas between grades, and to exploit bargain bins for coins that should not have been in them.

It’s all in a safe deposit box somewhere, and I wonder if I got it appraised what it would be worth now. No telling. My goal is to pass it on to the first offspring who expresses interest, could be one of my sons, could be my daughter. Could be grandkids down the road. Don’t know. Maybe I should get back into it.


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