Monday, January 28, 2013

"Hobo" Carved Nickel Fetches $24,200

It is hard to imagine what the artist would think to learn that his handiwork sold for over $24,000. Hobo nickels were carved by ... hobos, in the old days called tramps and other names indicating they were homeless wanderers, often hopping freight trains for transport. Well, courtesy of a link provided by eSylum newsletter, here is the story.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Mystery of Hobo Hand-Carved Nickels

If you don't know hobo nickels you're in for a treat with a visit to the site of the Original Hobo Nickel Society. What was once a a folk art -- carving a new image into a U.S. nickel -- is now a hobby for some, a profession for others, with prices in the hundreds. Scroll down on the page for a look at some great examples of what's being done today, along with awesome prices for these little treasures.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Faking It: These Ancients are Modern

There are a number of processes for producing modern coins that pass for ancient, and there is also the art of tooling which means working fresh details into an old coin. A very thorough discussion of these tactics appears here -- and many of the types of work discussed frequently appear on auction sites, often with nothing said by those in the know.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tracking Treasure with a Metal Detector

I get out once in a while with a metal detector but I have to admit I get a lot of pleasure reading about other peoples' finds, often far more fantastic than anything I've dug. Particularly the British reports -- hoards of gold and silver. Well, here's a site that seems inhabited by average folks discussing their finds, seeking help with identification and otherwise chatting it up about treasure. Might make fun reading now and then, and maybe you'll pick up a tip or two.

Monday, January 7, 2013

On the Trail of Masonic Mysteries, Lots of Links

Years ago, Freemasonry and its rituals and other intrigues were matters of great mystery, frequent subject of fiction and nonfictional tales. In more recent times it seems the Masons have come out from behind the veil of secrecy. From the associated sites I've visited, it seems they are quite open to questions, quite willing to shoot down the wilder claims about their activities and history. Or, are they simply "hiding in plain sight"? Well, here's a good starting point for investigation from a numismatic perspective.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Something Spooky About Banks? A Ghostly Tour

Castles and mansions are the sorts of places where you'd expect to find ghosts, but banks? Yes indeed. According to the article there are a great many haunted banks. Come to think of it, I recall dealing with a loan officer who seemed not exactly of this world... Thanks to CoinsWeekly for the link.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Links That May Help in Your Search for Clues

Nothing beats a good collection of research sites when you're out to solve a numismatic mystery. Unless you're an expert at creating an advanced search, the search engines will load you down with a lot of dead ends and generalities. Here's a site listing a number of useful links. You might also consider joining the host organization, the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. It's a great group with a lot of knowledgeable and influential members. The newsletter is open to questions from readers. Check it out, visit "Home" in the header of the above link.