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The Engraved Coins & Hobo Nickel Art of 89Pines

The Engraved Coins & Hobo Nickel Art of 89Pines

“… embellished with a rude engraving …”

– The Valley of Fear (VALL)

89Pines carvings can usually be identified by his engraver’s mark that he places on the opposite side of the coin he engraved. (See above FIVE CENTS)

Over the past five years, your editor has come across many auction listings on eBay for several simplistic engraved coins / hobo nickels with Sherlockian themes and some entertaining wordsplay in describing the coins. All of those listings were placed by 89Pines, a gentleman I now know as Chuck Wirth. A native of Southern California, this former woodcarver has lived outside Tombstone, in southeast Arizona for nearly thirty years.

TFG: Any story to @89Pines name?

@89Pines: My Property had 89 Pine Trees on it when I first used it as a selling ID.for eBay.. …Simple … Nuthin` romantic.

TFG: How did you become interested in hobo nickels?

@89Pines:  Ran across one in pocket change maybe 20 +/- years ago. Found it interesting – always wanted to try engraving, and when I had a run in with the big “C” and after chemotherapy, I ended up with very acute peripheral neuropathy —  didn`t leave me many options, I had to give up my wood working business (for safety reasons, with no feelings in hands legs or feet , not wise to work around fast moving very sharp machinery) Really a miracle that I can engrave at all!  Tt was quite a struggle in the beginning… but I don`t give up easy.. and I love it.

TFG: When did you start engraving hobo nickels?

@8Pines: 2015 +/- ; No formal training, just put graver to metal and let `er rip. Hopefully learning as I went.

TFG: How do you do your engravings?

@89Pines: Use hand push gravers, hammer & chisels/gravers , and an Old air hammer/graver pneumatic outfit [ GRAVER MAX… made by GRS .. which with the PerphNeuropathy makes the work much easier as I grow older, and the PN gets worse.. Plus some hand made points and texturing / smoothing blunts, plus an OLD worn out 1880`s 10 pound Ball Vise.

For magnification I use a 2x OPTIVISOR, [ a head visor thingie] AND although I do have a MICROSCOPE, ..I have never used it..I don`t like them at all, and feel that maybe in another 25 -30 years.  If… I need one .. I got it!

I do have a couple of rotary grinders high speed and a dremel , BUT again , don`t like them , rough ground hacked up lines / gouges , just don`t appeal to me at all. + it`s not carving or engraving, it`s hacking out a rough line /gouge, and done in seconds that looks revoltin` to begin with !… a waste of a good coin in my opinion..  a hacked up coin,..just goes against the grain. For polishing and buffing, I use brass brushes, and light abrasive cloths for most.

@89Pines:  Yes, all the coins you have pictured, are mine. I think there may have been more, but where the pics are is anyone`s guess , as when you don`t just Carve Hobo`s for the MONEY, or the Quick Money, or the Extra Money….and do it for the pleasure , You can carve all day long without tiring and enjoy most every minute! … and that makes for lot of coins .. thousands, in fact that have never ever been listed.

TFG: Have you read the Holmes stories? Any favorites?

@89Pines: Read a few when I was 7-9… But it has been a while. Now,, old movies much more exposedme to the Holmes stories there, but no real favorites come to mind..

Be sure to check out all of the hobo nickels that @89Pines offers at his eBay Store.

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