Death's Head Amulet

$195.00
About Details Inspiration
The "buffalo nickel" debuted in 1913 with an American Bison on one side and a Native American's face in profile on the other.  A few years later during the Great Depression the "hobo nickel" was born.  Craftsmen, newly jobless and homeless, began carving facial modifications into the 5-cent pieces using knives, chisels, or other tools. T he resulting artwork could be traded for a meal or a bed for the night.  Political cartoon characters were a popular subject, as were self-portraits, but the most striking and memorable image was this one: a stripped-down skeletal version of the Native American's face.  These eerie artifacts from the tumultuous beginning of the twentieth century claim high prices among coin collectors, but this one's not an antique.  It's new, made by a craftsman with an appreciation for the old depression-era tradition.  We commissioned a short run of these, each exquisitely hand-carved.
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  • Contemporary modifications have been made to an early 20th c. American nickel dating between 1913 and 1938.
  • Materials: coin's metal content is 75% copper and 25% nickel. New chain and findings are sterling silver.  
  • Measurements:  Necklace chain length is 22".   

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The identity of the Native American the artist James Earle Fraser used as a model is unclear, and was probably a composite of a few men. In December 1913, he wrote that "[b]efore the nickel was made I had done several portraits of Indians, among them Iron Tail (a Sioux) Big Tree (a Kiowa), and Two Moons (a Cheyenne).......I probably got characteristics from those men in the head on the coins, but my purpose was not to make a portrait but a type."

The bison's identity IS known, though - his name was Black Diamond.   In an interview published in the New York Herald on January 27, 1913, Fraser was quoted as saying that the animal was a "typical and shaggy specimen" which he found at the Bronx Zoo.  

less
more

About Details Inspiration
The "buffalo nickel" debuted in 1913 with an American Bison on one side and a Native American's face in profile on the other.  A few years later during the Great Depression the "hobo nickel" was born.  Craftsmen, newly jobless and homeless, began carving facial modifications into the 5-cent pieces using knives, chisels, or other tools. T he resulting artwork could be traded for a meal or a bed for the night.  Political cartoon characters were a popular subject, as were self-portraits, but the most striking and memorable image was this one: a stripped-down skeletal version of the Native American's face.  These eerie artifacts from the tumultuous beginning of the twentieth century claim high prices among coin collectors, but this one's not an antique.  It's new, made by a craftsman with an appreciation for the old depression-era tradition.  We commissioned a short run of these, each exquisitely hand-carved.
less
more
  • Contemporary modifications have been made to an early 20th c. American nickel dating between 1913 and 1938.
  • Materials: coin's metal content is 75% copper and 25% nickel. New chain and findings are sterling silver.  
  • Measurements:  Necklace chain length is 22".   

less
more

The identity of the Native American the artist James Earle Fraser used as a model is unclear, and was probably a composite of a few men. In December 1913, he wrote that "[b]efore the nickel was made I had done several portraits of Indians, among them Iron Tail (a Sioux) Big Tree (a Kiowa), and Two Moons (a Cheyenne).......I probably got characteristics from those men in the head on the coins, but my purpose was not to make a portrait but a type."

The bison's identity IS known, though - his name was Black Diamond.   In an interview published in the New York Herald on January 27, 1913, Fraser was quoted as saying that the animal was a "typical and shaggy specimen" which he found at the Bronx Zoo.  

less
more