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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 12, March 25, 2007, Article 22

BUFFALO NICKEL - SOUVENIR OF A 1915 STEPPING THE MAST CEREMONY?

Verne Walrafen of the Original Hobo Nickel Society writes: "Actually
we recently published an OHNS Scrapbook item on that very subject:
'“Stepping the Mast” ~ Not Exactly a Hobo Nickel' ?by Ralph Winter.

[Thanks for letting us know about Ralph's article.  Here is a short
excerpt.  Check out the complete article for images of the coin and
ship. -Editor]

"I had just about traversed the entire bourse when I came across an
unusual Buffalo nickel at one dealer's table. It was a beautiful AU
1915 Buffalo Nickel with the numbers “5”, “1” and an anchor etched into
both the obverse and reverse (see photos). It looked like this had been
done with a hand stamp or stamps. I was sure it had been done a long
time ago, and probably in 1915, because of the AU condition of the
nickel. The dealer knew nothing. He had picked it up with some other
coins and exonumia from an estate. I made an offer and drove home with
my stamped 1915 nickel.

"I really didn't know what I had and why the nickel had been stamped
in this manner. So I began doing a little research on the Internet. I
did find out that there was a U.S. Navy Destroyer O’Brien (DD-51) that
was commissioned in 1915."

[I didn't include this information when I edited last week's E-Sylum
article, but coins chosen for the mast ceremony are often ones which
incorporate the ship's number in some form, such as in the date or
denomination (or in the O'Brien's case, the inscribed '51').  So
Ralph's coin could well be one made and distributed to commemorate
the stepping of the mast ceremony for the O'Brien.   But do we know
for sure?  I don't think the article presents enough evidence for a
definitive conclusion, but it's hard to think of another likely
explanation for the coin's inscription.  Perhaps someday we'll locate
a more detailed account of the event which describes the souvenir
nickels.  -Editor]

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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