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Category Archives: Sherlock Holmes

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!

A Jerry Lewis Enjoyment Certificate with Theatre Imprint

A Jerry Lewis Enjoyment Certificate with Theatre Imprint

“Why not give ourselves up to the unrestrained enjoyment of the present?” – The Adventure of fhe Mazarin Stone (MAZA) Several years ago, we first reported on the Jerrry Lewis Enjoyment Certificates that promoted his 1962 film, It’s Only Money.  The $1,000 note features Lewis donning a deerstalker cap, and all of the notes features an… Continue Reading

Wooden Nickels from Altamont’s Associates

Wooden Nickels from Altamont’s Associates

“But thanks to my cheque-book and the good Altamont all will be well to-night.” – His Last Bow (LAST) In the last several weeks, we have seen groups of wooden nickels, including 2 with Sherloockian themes, being offerred repeatedly on a major online auction service. We are making the assumption that both woods were issued… Continue Reading

The Year in Sherlockian Numismatica – 2018

The Year in Sherlockian Numismatica – 2018

“… we have very properly laid in the new almanack …” – The Valley of Fear (VALL) With the release of the Baker Street Alamanac 2019 earlier this month, we though that now would be an appropriate time to reprint this adapataion of our article that appeared in the 2018 Alamanac. When The Fourth Garrideb was… Continue Reading

Rima Gedvile’s Mini-Sherlock Holmes Hobo Nickle

Rima Gedvile’s Mini-Sherlock Holmes Hobo Nickle

” It was not a photograph, but an ivory miniature, and the artist had brought out the full effect …” – The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor (NOBL) Back in 1992, the Original Hobo Nickel Society was formed to promote the collecting of engraved buffalo nickels that had been produced prior to 1980. Most of these “original” nickels were… Continue Reading

2020 Version of Kingdom of Great Britain Fantasy Banknotes Now Available

2020 Version of Kingdom of Great Britain Fantasy Banknotes Now Available

“No living man could tell a Prescott from a Bank of England …” – The Adventure of The Three Garridebs (3GAR)     The sixfth different “edition” of the fantasy Kingdom of Great Britain 10 pound banknotes has recently been issued. You can read about the 2015 version HERE, the 2016-2018 editions HERE.and last year’s 2019 version… Continue Reading

2020 Wooden Nickels Issued by Junior Sherlockian Society

2020 Wooden Nickels Issued by Junior Sherlockian Society

“… .thickly wooded round …” – The Boscombe Valley Mystery (BOSC) This January’s BSI dinner featured another wooden nickel produced by the Junior Sherlockian Society. Sponsored by the Beacon Society, a scion of the Baker Street Irregulars, they are searching for children and youth eager to develop an understanding and appreciation of the great detective… Sherlock Holmes. The wooden nickel… Continue Reading

TFG Issues Two Souvenir Cards During 2020 BSI Weekend

TFG Issues Two Souvenir Cards During 2020 BSI Weekend

“It is a little souvenir…” – A Case of Identity (IDEN) For the third consecutive year, The Fourth Garrideb issued a souvenir card for the Baker Street Irregulars Weekend this past January. Attendees of the annual BSI Dinner, the Dinner for “The Woman,” and the Gaslight Gala received one of our 8.5 by 11 inch souvenir… Continue Reading