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Tag Archives: Engraved Coins

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!

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

A Lucky Penny From Sherlock Homes of Indiana

A Lucky Penny From Sherlock Homes of Indiana

“…  I was lucky enough to find one.” – The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge  (WIST) We mentioned that Sherlock Homes of Indiana had a surprise for us in our recent post on their encased cents that was an earlier HolmeWork assignment. Garry Huffman, the president of Sherlock Homes of Indiana, answered our questions about the encased… Continue Reading

Javier Barahona Alvarez’s Holmes Portrait Engraving on a 1921 British Penny

Javier Barahona Alvarez’s Holmes Portrait Engraving on a 1921 British Penny

“It might be his portrait.” – The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOUN) 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 engraved with nails, knifes, files and perhaps some punches. In the years since the OHNS… Continue Reading

A Sherlockian Hobo Nickel Design for ANA’s National Coin Week Challenge

A Sherlockian Hobo Nickel Design for ANA’s National Coin Week Challenge

“… the artist had brought out the full effect…” – The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor (NOBL) National Coin Week, sponsored by the American Numismatic Association (ANA), is fast approaching with an April 21 start date. Several years back (pre 2016) the ANA sponsored a contest encouraging elementary students to design their own hobo nickels. One student,… Continue Reading

Porcelain Casts of Sherlockian Hobo Nickel Being Auctioned

Porcelain Casts of Sherlockian Hobo Nickel Being Auctioned

“Well, then, spend the next twenty-four hours in an intensive study of Chinese pottery.” – The Adventurous of the Illustrious Client (ILLU) In the upcoming Heritage Auctions session at next month’s Florida United Numismatists convention, there is the following lot being offered for bid: LOT #4897   Group Lot of 8 Modern Hobos, Porcelain Castings…. (Total: 8… Continue Reading

A 1937 Sherlockian Hobo Nickel by Gediminas Palsis

A 1937 Sherlockian Hobo Nickel by Gediminas Palsis

“I gazed with interest and some surprise upon the portrait.” – The Hound of The Baskervilles (HOUN) 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 engraved with nails, knifes, files and perhaps some punches.… Continue Reading

The 1935 Sherlock Bones Hobo Nickel

The 1935 Sherlock Bones Hobo Nickel

“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!’” – The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOUN)       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 engraved with nails, knifes, files and perhaps some punches.… Continue Reading

The 1972 Sherlock Bones Hobo Dollar

The 1972 Sherlock Bones Hobo Dollar

“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!’” – The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOUN) 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 engraved with nails, knifes, files and perhaps… Continue Reading