New Art, Vintage Money

Have you ever heard of the hobo nickel, readers? Until I stumbled upon this article, I was ignorant of the practice. That is no longer the case; though this author still has research to do, the art form is now on her radar.

Hobo nickels were originally made by immigrants and vagrants in the United States. They would carve images into low denomination coins like nickels during their treks across the country. The craft has not been lost – if anything, it has become more intricate. It is also a skill practiced around the world, from the United States to Russia and everywhere in between.

Learn more about this art in the article below, readers. Who knows? Maybe you will find the hobby to your liking as well.

Incredibly Intricate Gold Bug with Mechanical Wings Carved onto Silver Dollars

Apr 20, 2019 Helen Flatley

The art of the hobo nickel, the 18th century practice of carving unusual images into small, low-denomination coins, is arguably more popular than ever. This intricate art form involves inscribing images by hand into coins and other small metal objects, in order to create inventive new designs.

However, according to My Modern Met, many contemporary artists are taking this historic art form to new levels, by creating elaborate mechanical sculptures that are hidden within seemingly innocuous coins.

Russian artist Roman Booteen is a master in the practice of transforming simple coins, creating extraordinary moving sculptures that are only revealed using hidden triggers embedded in the coins themselves. One of his latest creations, titled Gold Bug, is perhaps his most ambitious to date, carved from two silver dollar coins dating from 1921, welded together with a gold five dollar coin from 2015.

According to My Modern Met, this magnificent work of art features a series of intricately carved floral motifs, with images of skulls embedded into the design. The image is framed by a Latin quotation inscribed on the encircling ribbon, which roughly translates to, “the most expensive should be something that was sought longer and more intensively than others.”

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