Shown below is an authentic Hobo Nickel.

A) Cut lines are smooth to the touch. They appear dark and under magnification, debris can be seen.

The cut lines in reproductions are very sharp and clean, with no residue in the cuts. The cuts will show no wear. People who reproduce them get carried away with detail and there is usually a lot of beard hair.

B) Areas where the original image has been removed appear as scrapes or gouges, they should appear as if made by a knife and not a mechanical tool.

C) There should be wear on the high spots of the coin where the carvings were made. Note the wear on the cheek bones and the beard areas. Note the uneven wear on the head band hash marks on this coin.

A true HOBO Nickel shows wear on the cut lines, and and there is residue in the cuts. The coin should feel smooth and you should not be able to feel the engravings.

D) Older dated coins will tend to be authentic, as in the case of this 1916 D. During the days when these coins were carved they had no idea what the value would be in the future. Reproductions are usually very worn buffalo nickels, as the engraver is wise enough to know better than deface a valuable coin. Most reproductions are 1936 and 1937 mint years from the Philadelphia Mint (no mint mark).

Most HOBO Nickels are good to very fine as the HOBOs used circulated coins. They are usually carved on one side, and the majority of real Hobo Nickels are modified on the Indian Head and not the Buffalo, although there are many carved Buffalos to be found. (The Indian side was easiest to carve due to the strong features and large working surface). Remember that HOBOs only had a knife, and not a modern day high-speed rotary tool with a coin snugly anchored in a vise.