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Hobo Nickels Collecting Arts and Crafts Coinage

Updated on August 26, 2015

The Hobo Nickel is a Unique and Collectible Depression Era Art Form

HOBO NICKEL COLLECTING - Not too long ago I came across this gem of classic Americana, and after doing a bit of research I was amazed at how much information and history was actually available on something as obscure as the Hobo Nickel. The Hobo Nickel is yet another form of collectible Americana.

Hobo Nickel is a reference to an art form that was practiced predominantly through the depression era, which was essentially the entire decade that spanned the 1930s. Although history indicates that the practice of etching and carving Buffalo Nickels probably existed prior to the depression, these are the years it gained it's popularity.

Hobo was a stereotypical name given to unemployed men that rode the rails from town to town in search of work, or at the very least a meal and a place to sleep. Although it is often referred to as a depression era word, the term hobo has been used since the late 1890's. You can learn more about hobo's at I'd like to devote this lens to bringing an awareness to others that did not know about Hobo Nickels. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

The Original Hobo Nickel Society

A Non-Profit Organization

The Original Hobo Nickel Society is an organization that was founded to preserve the history, the integrity, and the craft of carving Hobo Nickels. You can find this non-profits website at

I believe the annual membership fee is only $15.00 to become part of this non-profit organization, which caters to Hobo Nickel collectors and allows you the opportunity to participate in a large annual Hobo Nickel auction. If you would like to see some fantastic examples of Hobo Nickels Here's a link to the home Page

How To Value A Hobo Nickel

The value of a Hobo Nickel can range from a few dollars to several hundreds of dollars. You are probably not going to find these listed in a standard coinage value guide,, and the only way to actually value a specific Hobo Nickel is by how much someone is willing to pay for it. Hobo Nickels are a form of Tramp Art and although you may find them in the collection of a numismatist the worth is in their history and has little to do with the coinage value.

Authentic depression era Hobo Nickels that portray unique characters can fetch several hundreds of dollars from the right collector. Well known Contemporary Hobo Nickel artists can fetch a pretty penny for their artwork too.

Hobo Nickels are perfect little pocket tokens that are fun to hold make great golf ball markers. You can find Hobo Nickels selling at E-bay Auctions starting for as little as ten dollars.

A Band Named "The Hobo Nickels"

This topic gets more interesting all the time. I found a CD label for a band named "The Hobo Nickels" . You can download a selection of their tunes at The Hobo Nickels -

Amazon didn't have any reviews yet, but I found this short description of the band at

"Hailing from the Mile-High City, The Hobo Nickels enjoy a unique, bird's-eye perspective on Americana-style music. As they take their cues from a wide range of influences including Bill Monroe, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and They Might Be Giants, The Hobo Nickels drift along the borders of bluegrass, swing, zydeco, klezmer, folkabilly, country, story songs, and children's music."

Had you ever heard of a Hobo Nickel ?

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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      3 years ago

      The nice thing about collecting hobo nickels is the variety is great. I would be surprised to see two that are alike. So, the collection never gets completed, which means you can always enjoy looking for more.

    • EEWorkouts profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow, this is an awesome lens! Thanks for showing me this.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      This is new to me. I've been reading a lot about the Depression era lately but didn't run across this info until now. Thanks for filling us in on this topic.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      6 years ago from Ljubljana

      Yes, right now:)

      Looks cool!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I heard of Hobo Nickels but never saw them before. Pretty neat! :)

    • BobZau profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Zau 

      6 years ago

      @hobo_crvr: Thanks for pointing that out... I believe I have corrected it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I believe the answer to quiz #2 is C. not A

    • Lareene profile image


      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      This is my very first time. I do like the look thanks.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Pretty interesting stuff.

    • CruiseReady profile image


      6 years ago from East Central Florida

      Very cool!

    • BobZau profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Zau 

      6 years ago

      I had never hear the term Hobo Nickel until just before writing this lens. There are some real masterpieces to be found.


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