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Sam Alfano’s Sherlock Holmes Hobo Nickel

Sam Alfano’s Sherlock Holmes Hobo Nickel

“It might be his portrait.”

– The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOUN)

Today, we are featuring this 1913 Buffalo nickel that has been engraved by Sam Alfano of Louisiana. His biography, from his Master Engraver website, offers up this capsue:

Sam Alfano began engraving in the early ’70’s with a set of engraving tools purchased from a mail order catalog. He experimented with engraving on and off for a few years, but didn’t get serious about the craft until 1979. The few engravers he’d met were unwilling to share their knowledge of tool sharpening, engraving technique, etc., and learning was a slow process.

In 1982, Stanley Diefenthal, of the famed New Orleans Arms Co., hired Sam on a full time basis to engrave guns in his personal collection. Since engraver Lynton McKenzie had worked there for many years, Diefenthal brought McKenzie in to train Sam. For the first time, Sam was afforded the opportunity of professional instruction, not to mention studying under one of the world’s great engravers, and assumed McKenzie’s place at the engraving bench at New Orleans Arms Co.

In 1984, Sam traveled to Brescia, Italy to learn techniques of banknote or “bulino” engraving from the great Firmo Fracassi. He continued to work for New Orleans Arms Co. until 1989 when Diefenthal passed away.

Once on his own, Sam focused his attention on handmade knives and high-end jewelry engraving.

Sam has continued to work on custom knives and jewelry, catering to advanced collectors in many countries, and has produced some of the finest engraved pieces made. He is best known for his intricate designs, precise detail, and flawless execution of this demanding art form, and his work has been featured in books and magazines around the world.

He is a certified Master Engraver by the Firearms Engravers Guild of America, and is also an accomplished musician, photographer, member of Mensa, engraving instructor for GRS, and has demonstrated hand engraving and diamond setting techniques in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, France, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Italy, China, Japan, Thailand, and the USA. In addition to engraving, Sam’s graphics illustrations are in use worldwide on thousands of products from book covers to clothing, and he has authored several instructional engraving videos.

There are a large number of his engraving videos available on YouTube, if you woud iike to see further examples of his caring and engraving skills.

It appears that this particular Sherlock Holmes engraved nickel was done in early 2014 or possibly earlier, based on dates this nickel first started showing up online. Truly, a magnificent piece of engraving!

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