One of the most popular silver round collections released in recent years is the Hobo Nickel Series. The collection features unique designs on both the obverse and reverse of each round. Although the imagery differs with each new release, the concept behind each round in both the 2016 and 2017 releases focuses on the history behind so-called “hobo art.” The Hobo Nickels offer beauty, uniqueness, and variety to anyone buying silver. If you’re looking for something distinctive, consider the Hobo Nickel Series!
The Hobo Nickel Series debuted in 2016 from HotCo and the Osborne Mint (Osborne Precious Metals). The 2016 Hobo Nickels included a total of five different designs. The silver rounds in this first series were closely derived from the original Buffalo Nickel designs by James Earle Fraser in circulation from 1913 to 1938. These coins were a favorite target of hobo artists in early 20th century America. The designs in the 2016 Hobo Nickel collection include:
In 2017, a new set of five designs for the Hobo Nickel Series emerged with distinctly different inspirations than the 2016 Hobo Nickels. In addition to changes in the theme of 2017 Hobo Nickels, there were also changes to the availability and style in the program which is discussed in the next section. The design of 2017 Hobo Nickels includes the following:
Added just in time for Halloween, the Nightmares of the Fall silver round release was a special addition to the second Hobo Nickel Series that featured elements excellently paired with the autumn theme. The Nightmares of the Fall design features a close image of a skull with a spider web in one eye and a bat flying across the moon in the other eye. Flip it over, and there is a ghoulish tree ready to trap anyone who happens by on the other side.
There are some critical differences between the silver round designs of Hobo Nickel Series #1 releases and the silver rounds of the Hobo Nickel Series #2 collection. Most notably, the artist behind the 10 designs in total in the series. All of the 2016 Hobo Nickels were designed by famed artist Paolo Curcio. Known as Mr. The, his original carvings feature on the obverse and reverse of all the designs in the 2016 Hobo Nickels. The designs in 2016 were also available on 1 oz silver proofs with a mintage of 10,000 rounds, 1 oz antique proofs with a mintage of 1,000 rounds, and 5 oz antique proofs with a mintage of 1,000 rounds.
Fast forward to the 2017 Hobo Nickels, and a few important factors changed. First and foremost, each of the five designs were created by different artists. The following are the artists and their designs in the 2017 Hobo Nickels:
Additionally, the 2017 Hobo Nickels had lower mintage figures and one less option for buyers. The 1 oz proof silver rounds are not an option in the 2017 Hobo Nickels, but the 1 oz and 5 oz silver antique options remain. Mintage figures were down to 5,000 for the 1 oz rounds and 2,500 for the 5 oz rounds. The lone exception was the final release of the Nightmares of the Fall design, which is available only in 1 oz antique silver with a mintage of 1,500 rounds.
Both the first series of Hobo Nickels and second series Hobo Nickels had hand-scraped antique finishes that lend the visual appeal of ancient coinage. The rounds are all available with .999 pure silver content, edge-lettered serial numbers, and ship inside of clear, plastic Air-Tite capsules.
The Hobo Nickels are a collaboration between Heads or Tales Coins, a unique precious metals design shop. The Osborne Mint, America’s oldest-operating private mint which can trace its roots back to 1835, handles the production of the Hobo Nickels.
Hobo artwork on coinage began as early as the 1750s, with British sailors and merchants altering pennies while spending long weeks and months at sea. Prominent hobo art during the 18th and early 19th centuries could be found in Britain, France, and South Africa outside the United States. In the 20th century, the term “hobo nickel” was coined because the Buffalo Nickel of the United States was popular among hobos in North America. The coin was popular for its size, thickness, and relative softness, all of which made it the ideal format for hobo art on coinage.
If you’re looking to buy silver from the Hobo Nickels collections, JM Bullion customer service can help you out. Feel free to reach out to us at 800-276-6508, chat with us live online, or simply send us an email.