Coin and Paper Money Collecting/1929 coin

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Question
I have a 1929 Indian head nickel with a woman riding a fish on the back of it. I can not find any info on it. Pls help me.

Answer
Cathy:

There is no normal nickel with a reverse like yours. You likely have what is known as a hobo nickel.  They got this name because these were hand "tooled" by hobos that often rode the rails to travel and would trade these little pieces of artwork for a meal or a place to sleep. They were made usually from regular Buffalo Nickels struck from the 1920's and 1930's.

They are not mint products, and are considered altered coins.

Old carvings that can be positively identified by famous hobo artists can sell for over $1,000

Yours most likely is a more modern carving, and valued at around $25.00

There is a whole area of coin collecting related to collecting "Hobo's".  The Hobo Nickel Society has an interesting website at: http://www.hobonickels.org

Added data at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobo_nickel and http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/2/hobonickels.php

You may want to check US coin listings on eBay from time to time to see if your hobo nickel is listed what this type of item may bring.

If you live close to a local shop, they should offer an opinion as to the value at no charge. Always try and get at least two opinions and try and deal with PNG dealers if possible. If you should decide to sell your item to a dealer, remember they will offer about 50% to 60% of the retail value. Here's a link to find one in your area: http://www.pngdealers.com/dealersearch.php

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Coin and Paper Money Collecting

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Ronald Fern

Expertise

I can answer most all questions relating to US coins, tokens, and currency. I'm not strong on world coins or ancients. Primary field of expertise is errors and varieties. Over 55 years experience in coin collecting. Part time dealer since 1976. Employed by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing for over 34 years as an Industrial Engineer/Technical Specialist before retiring in 2002.

Experience

Worked weekends for "Lonesome" John in the late 1960's to mid 1970's processing error coins, packaging, and preparing orders. Worked with John Devine and Fred Weinberg on several California Error A Rama's in the early 1970's. Served as display judge at annual Error-A-Rama coin shows. Opened and operated mail order coin business DBA "CAL ERRORS" in 1976. Contributor to Alan Herbert's "Official Price Guide To Mint Errors" and Fivaz/Stanton "Cherrypickers' Guide". Worked Saturdays at Huntington Beach Coin Exchange 1980-1999. Had table and sold coins at a number of coin and gun shows in So CA, AZ and NV. Sell coins, tokens and currency on Facebook. Past "Errorscope" Editor. Presently CONECA Examiner.

Organizations
ANA, CONECA, CWTS, NLG

Publications
Errorscope, Numismatic News, Civil War Token Journal, Error and Variety News

Education/Credentials
AA Degree LBCC pre Engineering, 1964 BS Degree CSULB Ind Technology, 1968

Awards and Honors
1st Place EAR Trophy for Civil War Token Errors, NLG Author of Year Award for best monthly coin column "Error News and Views" in small Numismatic paper, owned and published by Ray Anthony.

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