After the 1800's and at the start of of the 1910's: Carved and engraved coins change in style and on the type of coins that were used as the medium to present these art pieces.
We move from the Victorian Love Tokens to the Hobo Nickels that show up sometime in the early 1910's. These miniatures of Americana Folk Art are collected and sought after by individuals who have an undertanding of the struggles of that the United States was going through.
Hobo Nickels are true Americana Art pieces! Hobo Nickel art work dates from 1913 to 1938. Hobo nickels are unique, individually hand carved nickels. The US coin used by these folk artists was the Indian Head /Buffalo Nickel.
The Indian portrait or the obverse side of the nickel was altered and carved into portraits of clowns, women, men, other Indians, friends, loved ones, figurals and self portraits. The buffalo or the reverse side of the nickel were turned into men with backpacks or other animals such as donkeys or elephants. Like the Victorian Era Love Tokens, Hobo Nickels were inscribed with dates, names or other inscriptions.
Hobo nickels, were carved by the homeless during WWI and during the Great Depression. Hobo Nickels were traded for meals, a place to sleep, a ride, or other favors. Some were carved with images of loved ones as mementos. Each Hobo Nickel has a story behind them. These stories speak of a generation of men and women who struggled to survive, yet kept their faith in our Creator, themselves, and the American dream.
They may have been wanderers, but they worked hard for what they needed, helped each other, and honored an unwritten code of honor and respect among hoboes.
Hobo Nickels are still being carved today. Individuals who carved the Hobo Nickels have brought this area of folk art to another level. The images are contemporary and often abstract with modern imaging.