Monday, September 5

Hobo Nickels

There's always something new to discover about art, and recently I found out about a folk art movement involving money and the alteration of it. You had me at defacing money. Hobo nickel carving is a movement that largely took place during the Great Depression; the movement focused on the Buffalo Nickel, which was created in 1913, but became popular as a canvas during the Great Depression. Not only was the Buffalo nickel the most circulated coin during the 1930s, but the design made the coin thicker, providing a more substantial surface to carve upon. Traveling men, looking for work, would carve a work of art into the surface of a nickel and trade it for room and board; it was art in exchange for survival. This was not the first time coins had been carved, and coins continue to be used for this purpose, but it is an interesting part of Americana that I had never heard of before. More information can be found on the movement at the Original Hobo Nickel Society website as well as the Appalachian History website.


Anonymous said...

wow! DOD

Anonymous said...

The last one reminds me of one of Uncle John's sketches. I'll see if I can find it so you can compare. I second that 'wow!' Mom