This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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A record price $7,700 price was realized at the Original Hobo Nickel Society auction held Jan 8 in conjunction with the 2011 Florida United Numismatists convention in Tampa, Fla., reports the club.
It was achieved by an Indian Head nickel coin carved by hobo artist George Washington “Bo” Hughes. The price includes a 10 percent buyer’s fee.
Although not the highest price paid for a hobo nickel, the $7,700 is a record paid for a carving by “Bo.”
The record paid for a hobo carving was established at the 2008 OHNS auction. At that sale, a carving by hobo artist Bert Wiegand, “Bo’s” mentor, sold for $9,020 including the buyer’s fee. This year’s record-setting hobo nickel by “Bo” is a portrait of Bert. The “LI” and “Y” were removed from “LIBERTY” to spell “BERT.”
Another carving, a beautiful two-sided hobo nickel by an artist nicknamed “Twofer,” realized $3,410.
A new auction record was also set this year with a hammer price of $48,425 for 117 regular lots and three donated lots of hobo-related items. The total reached was $53,030.50. The previous high for an OHNS auction was set in 2009 when 138 regular lots and seven donated lots sold for a grand total of $47,701.45.
Another record was broken at this year’s show. Nine contemporary hobo nickel carvers were in attendance. The previous record was seven in 2006. At this year’s show, several of these carvers gave hobo nickel carving demonstrations at the OHNS bourse table. Many children stopped by to view the demonstrations and pick up a free starter hobo nickel.
At the OHNS annual meeting member John Petrow of Miami was named the recipient of an OHNS scholarship to attend the 2011 American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar. Nine members received silver and copper literary tokens for contributions to the OHNS quarterly publication, BoTales. Special events are being planned for the 20th anniversary of the society’s founding at the 2012 FUN show in Orlando.
To participate in the annual auction, one only needs to be a member of OHNS. Annual dues are $15. Information can be obtained by going to the OHNS website at www.hobonickels.org, or by contacting OHNS Secretary Verne Walrafen at 12000 Sunset Ridge Drive, Ozawkie, KS 66070-6045.